A Glance Back at Authenticity

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage [Book]I am in a teaching series on “Stay in the Room” relationships and in our couples Bible study class we are studying the marriage classic, His Needs, Her Needs.  Then I read about a new study that says women are more moral than men.  Did I hear a “duh” from the ladies section?

A new study by Professor Roger Steare has developed a “Moral DNA Test” to calculate changes in our value systems.  The results are based on a quiz taken by 60,000 volunteers in 200 countries.  It measures responses to questions about morality, including judgments on whether those around us at work and home would consider us honest. 

The results say females are more moral than men and are more likely to make decisions based on how they impact others.  Further, it says our moral compass changes with age, becoming less obedient, but more rational.  The writer says we reach “a peak of our intellectual and moral powers” in our early 60s.  You can go online and take the test at www.moraldna.org.  

The problem with the test is this: the test turns out to be only as accurate as our self-descriptions.  If I represent myself as being more honest or moral than I really am, the test will give me the profile I wish for myself. 

Remember last week’s message on authenticity where we asked the question, “Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?”  Years ago, John Powell wrote a perceptive book titled, Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am?  His answer was sadly simple:  because I’m afraid you won’t like me if I do

This means that each day we are tempted to project what psychologists call our “idealized self”—the person we wish we were.  Then we try to become that person, or at least convince ourselves that we can and in that case, self-disclosing tests such as the Moral DNA will tell us what we want to hear.

According to Jim Denison, three problems result: 

·      One: our attempts to fool others are seldom successful and the mask inevitably slips. 

·      Two: what impresses one person doesn’t necessarily work for another, so we’re forced to create a closet full of masks and the constant role-playing becomes psychologically draining and eventually fails. 

·      Three: the only Judge whose opinion matters isn’t fooled by our deceptions, no matter how cleverly we execute them.

 So, what are we to do?  In the Christian classic, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis suggests we give up thinking about ourselves at all, focusing instead on our Father and our neighbor.   If we do, we will feel “the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life.”  When we abandon “the false self” with all its “posing and posturing,” this moment of freedom and relief “is like a drink of cold water to a man in the desert.”

Do you need a moment of freedom and relief?  Do you long to put away your mask and listen to the only Judge that matters?  For this, Jesus came and lived and died and lived again.  Really he did.  Just ask Him.  Just trust Him.  Just believe Him.

After over three decades of managing and motivating people in the local church as a pastor, I now spend my waking hours heralding the call for living in redemptive, reconciled relationships. I simply call them “stay in the room” relationships.