Authenticity: au·then·tic·i·ty: dependability, trustworthiness, credibility;
accuracy, truth, veracity, fidelity.
I remember attending a gathering to where a certain speaker was rather evangelical & charismatic. I was told she is rather prophetic. I was asked to come up after the service and have her pray for and over me twice. Once at the beginning of our gathering and at the end of the several day gathering. She prayed over me as I was going through some pain and ongoing challenges from an accident. However, the most memorable prayer I had with her was the second time. She specifically called me by name, not just my usual name, but that from those of my immediate family and nearly life long friends. She started out with, “Marty, I know you long for and are seeking authenticity. Authenticity and genuineness in those around you, those you love, those you seek to love, those that say they love you, not just in your work life, but those in your personal and church life. You have been hurt, and I am not just talking about physically, but emotionally too. You seek to see and seek others out that value authenticity as you do….” She went on with this payer seemingly to know me, what makes me tick, and nearly knowing what I may have been through. Not just over the last few years, but perhaps many years. This did surprise me, as she was right, more than I realized.
Like many I know, I have unfortunately been through a painful divorce and financial adversity. Like some I know, I have unfortunately been through a painful accident (or more), church split(s), loss of loved ones, and emotional heartache that sometimes just did not make sense, even to a believer.
I have been more blessed than I realized with miraculous healing, financial restoration, spiritual renovation, and emotional strengthening. I have also been blessed by true friends and family that truly know what the word, “love”, means. What “let brotherly love continue” or “love thy brother (or sister) as thyself” as it says in the bible as well as what the definition of love means in 1 Corinthians. Authentic love, authentic friendship, authentic love in more than words, that in actions & deeds.
Now if you have lived on this earth a few decades, you have seen people come in and out of our life. We may question why you do not hear from them often, or for a long duration, or maybe ever again. However maybe we should look a bit deeper more on why they came. Was it just an coincidence? One of my close friends & brothers in Christ has said, “with children of God, there are no coincidences, just assignments” It may be either the assignment for these people pushed along by the Holy Spirit, near “angels”, has passed, or the “assignment” was completed, and another task or stage of life was directed, or God wants another person, or influence to take over. Sometimes people may be in your life for a time, or a season for a reason, while some are in your life forever for a reason.
Recalling this prayer from this speaker during this gathering, I am blessed by having some remarkable people in my life that are authentic, while shortly after that prayer with this speaker, some other people departed that may have not been so authentic, even within weeks to several months after that gathering and prayer. It may be some of what God may call pruning. Yet, I have more deeply recalled all those that are in my life, and the new ones that have arrived, and have been brought into my life.
I recall during my accident, while in the hospital a month, all those that came and visited me in the hospital, praying at my side, cheering me up, bringing me cards, flowers, food, & my favorite snacks watching sports to the very late hours of the evening. Those that even held Men’s Group, church & communion while right there in the hospital. Friends that came and visited me once released at home, while I was in a wheel chair for the next three or more months, making sure I had food in my refrigerator, made it to my doctors appointments, picked me up for church, prayed with and over me in the middle of my living room, while I tried to ignore the pain, or hold back my emotions and the tears. Even some very authentic people that surprised me by helping with critical bills when I never even asked, or when money showed up in my mailbox or doorstep anonymously, when I was distraught on how I would be able to even make the rent or buy any groceries being out of work with no pay for so long, while having two minor children to help support. Granted a good portion of these friends & family were from the Southwest, Ohio area, but not all of them. Some were in national Groups, and Organizations I am involved in across the nation. I was being prayed for and over in and by churches, brothers and sisters I had never met, and didn’t even know.
Even as I woke up from a dream right now, at 3am on a SONday morning, that I know that may be a state or more away, that I am rather confident that would drop almost anything to help me or my children, or send someone or something that would.
These particular friends and family that are in my life are authentic. They do not say ” I love you” just to express a word, and not mean it. They do not say, “I am my brothers keeper” and not know what it means. They do not inspire me with words as a mere exercise, or in passing; nor do they encourage me to be better, to grow out of some means of vanity or empty vocabulary; they do all this in authentic love. Brotherly love.
Therefore if you have family and or friends likes this. Authentic, non fair weather, true friends and truly loving family members like this, then cherish them. They are priceless. In turn, strive to be authentic as well, in your words, actions and deeds. If you call a friend, “brother” or “sister” than truly be a brother or sister. If you say you will pray for them, or do something for them, then do it with eager zeal, never expecting anything in return. Be that one phone call or text away. Be that kind listening ear or warm hug. Demonstrate the “letting brotherly love continue” Send out love, inspiration, & encouragement, and it may be returned to you in ways or folds you never expected during times most needed.
1 Corinthians 13:4–13