James 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and SINCERE. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Sincere – without deceit, pretense or hypocrisy: truthful; straightforward; honest.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
Wisdom from above is sincere, meaning we don’t have to pretend or fake a response when responding to situations. God’s wisdom is truthful, straightforward and honest; it does not conceal His character and is wholly pure of heart. While we all desire to respond in this manner, at times we may struggle in living without hypocrisy and in all sincerity. Thankfully, as daughters of the King He has given us the Holy Spirit to both guide us and to work on our hearts, as He is well aware that in our own strength we will struggle in this area from time to time. Truly, it all comes back to LOVE. Are we acting out of sincere love for others or in some manner safeguarding ourselves? For us to be doing His work we must go about it with a sincere heart, for as Romans 12:9 says – “Love is sincere.”
Question: My children will apologize, but I don’t think they are sincere. How can I discern if they are truly sincere in seeking forgiveness?
Answer: Beginning with young children – start by walking them through the process of asking for forgiveness or saying “I am sorry”; whichever is appropriate. Also, help the children learn to accept the apologies of their siblings. Children are often willing to quickly say “sorry” without a full understanding of what it means. However, over time understanding and sincerity will come. In the meantime, require the action of apologizing, knowing belief in the why of the action will follow as their heart is trained.
If an insincere apology is still a problem with an older child, then consider looking for a heart issue. Making a child repeat an apology until you like how it sounds is not the answer. This approach does not deal with the deeper issue of a heart change, which takes time. As parents, we are prone to hurry the process. If an older child is having a hard time admitting their sin, or apologizing to their siblings or parents, there is a need to prayerfully consider the child’s “characterization” of behavior. It is also important to be aware of the child who is good at flying below the radar. This is the one who is not prone to stir up conflict, so as parents it is easy to allow little things to slip by until a BIG thing happens. That is when we then sit around scratching our heads wondering how we got here? It is important that a child like this be allowed to havereflective time to come to terms with his own heart. Parents need to be firm and patient throughout the process. Note: it is important not to let this child “out-stubborn” your patience! To help keep your focus, it may be necessary to write your end goals on sticky notes post them as reminders. Once the heart is right, the apology will be sincere.
For review see On Becoming ChildwiseChapters 8 (4th Law of Correction) & 10 (Reflective Sit Time) or Growing Kids God’s Way Chapter 13
Romans 12:9 – Love must be sincere.
Hebrews 10:22 – Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.
1 Peter 1:22 – Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
I (Anne) have found that whenever I am having trouble being sincere in my response to someone (perhaps a mom who has asked a question in a challenging way) it is often because of a heart issue on my part. In being completely honest, it usually happens when I have been offended by something she said or have taken it personally. Sometimes I may have judged her in some way, perhaps related to her character. Whatever the case, my response is now tainted by the sin in my own heart. In order to be able to respond with sincerity, I first need to go to God and release the person from the judgment I made or the offense I have taken. Once that is done, I have been amazed at how different my response feels and the peace experienced knowing that the love of Christ has been communicated rather than my perceived “proper” response shrouded by hypocrisy and insincerity.
A contractor, who also happened to be a Christian, was supposed to come to my (Patricia’s) home and bid on a job. After rearranging my schedule to ensure I would be there to meet him, he didn’t show – or even call. I was ticked. Just prior to leaving a “snarky” message on his voice mail, the Holy Spirit gently prodded me to consider why he might have been kept from fulfilling his commitment. Finally when the call was placed, God had adjusted my attitude so that I was able to share sincere concern, expressing my hope that everything was okay. (Wisdom seeks understanding.) As it turned out, the contractor’s dad had a heart attack and the responsibility of taking care of some family details had fallen on his shoulders. Again, the Holy Spirit provided that sense of affirmation and relief for me that I didn’t follow through with my original wrongful judgment. Plus I was also reminded that love from a sincere heart and without hypocrisy is nearly impossible without God, as my heart is so prone to selfishness and deception.
Our Identity in Christ
In this presentation by Anita Couch, women learn about their significance in Christ, and the importance of trusting the sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s perfect work on the cross. Anita helps women look into the mirror of truth to find the joyful freedom that comes from knowing who they are in Christ. She shares personal experiences and Scriptural truths to remind women that they are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. To order click here.