How Do You Build Authentic Relationships?

Kristine Strasburger | Relational Discipleship Network, Post Falls, ID

What does it mean to be truly authentic, build authentic relationships, and have a genuine relationship with God?

Living an authentic life — striving to align one’s actions with one’s core values and beliefs, with the hope of discovering and then acting in sync with one’s “true self” — has recently become a popular topic.

Authentic Leadership was a term coined in the 1990s and embraces the principle that leaders can prove their legitimacy by nurturing sincere relationships with those they work with and encouraging them to share their input. The roots of the concept date back to early Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, who advocated seeking alignment of inner values to outward manifestations.

Neurological evidence suggests that humans are hardwired to connect, which begs the question: Can that need be fulfilled without authentic relationships?

What the Bible Says About Authenticity…

Being honest is frequently mistaken for authenticity, but it’s more than simply being honest. Being authentic requires courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposing ourselves as flawed, which may lead to rejection and hurt. But it’s the only way to grow spiritually and emotionally healthy.

“But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:7-8 NCV)

Moving Beyond the Superficial Into Authentic Relationships

Authentic fellowship is not superficial. It’s genuine, heart-to-heart, sometimes gut-wrenching vulnerability.

The church should be a place where people from all different walks of life can come together without feeling the need to hide their imperfections. Unfortunately, many people think that they have to display the most polished version of themselves in church. They fear being judged. How many parishioners sit in your church every week thinking everyone around them seems to have it all figured out, that their walk with Jesus will never be “enough” compared to others.

Authenticity happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives; when they share their pain, reveal their feelings, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses, and ask for help and prayer.

Only when we become open about our lives can we experience an authentic relationship with God and fellowship with each other.

Kristine Strasburger

Relational Discipleship Network
Post Falls, ID