Recently some people took advantage of their involvement with Facebook to send messages to one another replete with four letter words, sexual innuendos, personal putdowns, and ill treatment of those they did not like. When contacted, the response was “this is our personal space. Noone has the right to tell us what to do with our personal lives.”
If we were to address the “personal life” issue from a Christian point of view we would have to say, yes, we have every right to our own privacy. But even in our “personal lives”, if we are Christian, we are called to bear witness to Christ.
The early Christians were constantly being challenged to be true to their faith in God and make their “personal lives” conform to the moral life that Jesus preached and modeled. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians “Examine yourselves to see if you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is living in you? unless, of course, you have failed the test.” (2 Cor 3:5)
Sadly enough we hear about public figures and their immoral “private” lives. We also hear some say “I personally believe this to be true but I will not “impose” my personal beliefs on others”. Beloved, don’t be fooled by rhetoric. What is ethical, true and good privately is also ethical, true, and good publicly! There is no such thing as a personal truth we hold privately and another truth that is public. Truth is truth.
How we act when no one is looking, is who we are, period. We are not one person privately and another publicly; we are the same inside and out. Likewise, what is objectively true for all people is subjectively true for each person. By way of example, abortion is wrong objectively – it is intrinsically evil to kill a child in the womb of her mother. It is wrong privately and wrong publicly. Likewise, marital infidelity is wrong objectively – it makes a lie of the promise we made to our spouse and the covenant we made with God. It is wrong privately and wrong publicly.
Do we have the courage needed to live one way when no one is looking and the same way when we are in the spotlight? This is true authenticity. However, it is not easy to corral the different forces that tug at our wild nature, or to tame our destructive inconsistencies, or to order rightly our desires to do whatever we please. Nonetheless, it is in our best interest to be real, true and ethical inside and out, for in this way we cultivate a personality that others and God can recognize as “conforming to or based on what is true” – Webster’s definition of authentic.
Authentic living is not hard, but it takes a properly formed conscience, friends who tell us the truth, and faith in the One who commands that we do what is good, yet is also ready to forgive when we ask.
+Gregory John Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)