Today I thought of something I had never thought of before. I love it when that happens. It was when I was reading this verse:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3: 17
And I got stuck on last word. Sincere. I don't think I have ever thought about trying to be sincere. Serious, yes. Truthful, yes. But sincere? Mmmm. No. I think it's safe to say that I lean towards seriousness a good bit of the time. Analyzing and thinking and over-thinking is a real hobby of mine. But that is not sincerity. So I started thinking sincerely seriously about being sincere. Here are some synonyms of sincere:
...whole-hearted, genuine, deep, heartfelt, profound, real, unfeigned, true, honest, bona fide
Okay. So. Just when exactly am I supposed to be sincere? Then I discovered the answer that must be the right answer, indeed the only answer is this: always. Always as in 100% of the time. 100% of the time as in all the time. Every minute. Hour. Day. In whatever I'm doing or saying I must be sincere.
But wait a minute. I don't know if I like where this is headed.
So, this means when someone is going on and on about how their washing machine is broken and the repair guy won't come when he's supposed to, I should actually be sincere with my empathy? That if I am there listening to this person, that I should sincerely (genuinely) listen to their woes and not just pretend to listen sympathetically to their poor-pitiful-me's? Seriously? Sincerely? No buts? So this also must mean that when really happy-go-lucky people are bragging about how awesome their life is and they want me to rejoice with them, that I'm supposed to be sincerely (WHOLE-heartedly) happy for them? Not even a smidgen of jealously? No hidden eye-rolling? Man.
Now I know I'm listing examples that aren't really a huge deal in the whole scheme of things... but these things do happen. Usually pretty often. Like, everyday. So I think sincerity must need to apply to those things too, not just the big things.
Then I started putting 'sincere' in front of the other words in the verse.
I should be sincerely peace-loving. I should be sincerely considerate. Sincerely full of mercy and good fruit. Sincerely impartial. Uh-oh. Sincerely submissive. Oh boy.
Sincerity seems to be a bona fide serious word, folks.
Why can't the verse say, 'Be sincere but only when it's easy to be.' Then, when it feels impossible to be sincere, I have an escape route. But it doesn't say that.
But then I know that honestly, sincerely, I wouldn't want it to. If we are called to be sincere by a God who sincerely loves us, then I think it's safe to assume that the pursuit of sincerity must be a worthwhile endeavor. If the wisdom that comes from heaven is all those things, then they must all be good things. Things I want to be evident in my life.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.
By deeds done in humility... humility must be the key. For me to be sincere, I am just going to have to be humble. Sincerity is a product of humility. Putting others first. That whole thinking-of-others-before-yourself thing. That letting-your-yes-be-yes-and-your-no-be-no thing. Whole-hearted sympathy, genuine consideration, deep heartfelt mercy, real and true impartiality, unfeigned submissiveness... sincere sincerity. These are the evidences of wisdom from heaven. Let this be my sincere pursuit.
sincerely yours (betcha wish I wasn't so sincere about that one)
(The person with the broken washing machine was me. The repair guy finally came. And we all lived happily ever after. ....Well, not me and the repair guy. Just me. ...Well, and my washing machine... ...Nevermind)