ARE YOU SINCERE?
Are you covering up your true self with wax?
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By Louise R. Hunnisett
Picking out a good-quality clay pot wasn't an easy task for a housewife in ancient times. Dishonest tradesmen would disguise their inferior pots by covering the cracks and blemishes with wax before selling them.
On the outside, a pot would look perfect, and the housewife often wouldn't find out just how flawed it was until she tried using it. As soon as she poured in hot water, the wax would melt and the pot would begin leaking.
Honest tradesmen began labeling their good-quality pottery with the words sin cere, literally meaning "without wax." Any housewife who bought a pot sin cere knew that the clay would be solid the whole way through.
Sin cere-without wax -is the root of our English words sincere and sincerity. We no longer connect this word to wax, but the reasons behind the root of the word can shed a lot of light onto its true meaning.
Sincerity vs. insincerity
According to our modern definition, "sincere" implies an absence of deceit, pretense or hypocrisy, and an adherence to the simple, unembellished truth.
Sincerity is usually thought of in the context of our words. For example, we might evaluate a compliment as being sincere or insincere, depending on the motive behind the mere words.
Insincerity often involves telling people what you think they want to hear in an attempt to make them think better of you, rather than giving genuine encouragement and praise.
Flattery given to boost someone's confidence is viewed as an acceptable form of dishonesty. However, although the motive seems good, such insincerity will do little to benefit anyone.
The highest compliment you can pay a person is sincerity, which simply means telling the truth. This doesn't mean being rude. We can still give our honest opinions tactfully. Although the truth may be harder for others to accept, it will be of far greater benefit in the long run.
Sincerity and character
Sincerity produces growth both in ourselves and in others. It is the foundation of strong interpersonal relationships.
To build strong bonds with someone, we must express our true feelings and show our real selves. If we wax over our faults to appear to be what we think others would like to see, we will only promote further mistrust when the wax eventually melts
and our insincerity is shown. On the other hand, if we are sincere ourselves, we will encourage honesty and sincerity in others.
Sincerity involves being the same in actual character as in outward appearance. It means being solid the whole way through, just as genuine clay pots were solid through to the inside.
Insincerity to others is unfair. Insincerity to self is even more dangerous. If we wax over our faults to hide them from others, we could become blind to them ourselves.
We can compare our character to one of those ancient clay pots. How much of it is hidden from view by wax? And what kind of character is it?
There is little point in waxing ourselves for the benefit of others. If we are sincere, we will reveal ourselves for what we really are. That can be hard at times. It's certainly humbling when another person sees our weaknesses but we cannot work on these weaknesses unless they are visible.
It has been said, "Sincerity is impossible unless it pervades the whole being, and the pretense of it saps the very foundation of our character."
We must be sincere through and through. If a pot is perfect except for one little hole that has been filled with wax, then the whole pot is useless. As soon as hot water is poured in, the hole will immediately show.
God's Holy Spirit is like this hot water. We can ask God to pour his Spirit into us to melt the wax that we have built up. Then we will be able to see ourselves for what we really are. The cracks will be fully visible.
Once we see these cracks in our character, we can start working on repairing them. Only when all the wax has been completely removed can we say that we truly are sin cere.