Wait a minute. This isn’t Latin class. Why are we starting off with a different language? There’s a point behind it all, trust me. What came to mind when you read the title? Most would lean toward the word Sincere. Sincerity, honesty, trust. These are things we search for in others, components of relationships that enable us to feel at ease when we’re around them. Right? Sine cera. If you take a look at the root of the word sincere, you’ll find the Latin sincerus, meaning “not falsified”. Let’s try and understand that phrase a bit further.
Step back into Roman times with me for a second. Market places all around you, vendors enticing you with this product, or that meal. Dust in the air, the chaos of “city” life echoing in your ears. Proudly, you walk into a shop, buy a clay vase, and walk away. Once you return home, you are filled with dread as your brand new vase starts leaking water left and right. As you look at it closely, you see small cracks, rippling through.
See, this is where that phrase comes in handy. Let’s rewind to the moment where you’re in the shop. You inspect the vase, then ask the vendor… Sine cera? (Roughly translated… did you use wax to cover up the cracks on this vase?)
We live in a world in which we are told that we need to look a certain way, act another, listen to this and sound like that. We spend a great amount of time worrying about what others might do or think when they see us that we section off anything that could show weakness. Taking that further, we take time to collect and post little snippets of our lives that may or may not reveal the whole picture. For the sake of sincerity here, I’ve been known to “clear” a little corner of my room for a snapshot to give others the impression of being organized.
We are quick to cover up anything that may not fit into what the world has come to label “normal”. And the thing is, as we cover up our own past, our own insecurities, we might miss an opportunity to minister to someone who is struggling with the same thing. Someone who looks around and sees carefully selected images of people that couldn’t possibly understand their pain.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” -2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NIV)
You were created with a unique purpose in mind. Jeremiah likens God to a potter, and His creation (that’s you!) the clay He has so carefully shaped into being. (Jeremiah 18:1-4, NIV). Jars of water can certainly be knocked down sometimes. Inevitably, some of that water will spill out onto the surface. Likewise, when we are troubled or challenged, our actions speak to what we have come to hold dear. At times, your purpose might be to embrace sincerity and allow others to see the marks that life’s circumstances have left on you. Use that opportunity to show them what God has done for you. Show them how God walked alongside you in those moments and walks with you still. Let others see that grace that God has poured into you.
Guest Blogger: Linda Branch (iHope intern)