Monday, February 11, 2013


It must have been at least ten years ago I heard a pastor share the root meaning of the word sincere.

The word is derived from the Latin sine = without, cera = wax

The pastor shared the widespread understanding of the word’s origin. Dishonest Roman and Greek sculptors would fill in cracks with wax in attempt to deceive anyone who saw their work. They wanted their work to appear flawless.

If I remember correctly, our pastor went on to make the connection how we are like those flawed pieces of art. He emphasized how we can allow God to shine light in those vulnerable areas and let His radiance and grace shine through.

I liked this message. Still do.

But I’m beginning to wonder how much it holds up to the light today.

Especially when it comes to our “online” selves.

No one wants a downer. And yet everyone feels skeptical when every picture posted is plastered with smiles.

We don’t know what to trust online anymore. It’s as though we’ve all become sculptors filling in with wax. Or if we’re not being blatantly dishonest, we simply choose to avoid the internet on particularly sad or emotional days.

I crave the sincere.

I crave glimpses of light shining through the vulnerable cracks.

I don’t want to encounter you online and wonder if what I’m really seeing is wax.

Have you witnessed the tension I’m referring to when it comes to vulnerability and online behavior?

“And I go back to Eden, in my mind, to imagine what it is going to be like for you and me in heaven. I suppose it will be a new and marvelous paradise, where love will exist in its purest form, where the beauty of diversity will be understood for the first time, where self-hatred will fade into an agreement with God about the splendor of His creation, where physical beauty will no longer be used as a commodity, where you and I will feel free in our sincere love for others, ourselves, and God. And I suppose it will be in heaven that you and I actually understand each other, all the drama of the lifeboat a distant memory, all the arguments we has seeming so inconsequential, and the glory of God before us in all His majesty, shining like sunlight through our souls.” ~ Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What

*photo by stock.XCHNG


  1. I think knowing someone online is just like knowing someone at work or at school or at church. We get an abbreviated version. It's not the whole picture. I get what you're saying but I also feel like there is always wax somewhere and that it's natural. Manners can be wax. LOL
    I never knew the root of sincere. Very interesting!
    Also, I tend to be smiley online because I go online when I'm in a good mood. If I'm in a bad mood, I hide on my couch with a book and don't socialize. LOL

    1. Completely get where you're coming from with the abbreviated version point and also with the hiding on your couch. Loved our FB exchange too. It's interesting to watch how social media is opening up all kinds of angles of human behavior.

      I'm also turning your "manners can be wax" point in my mind. I guess self-control and business and professionalism all tie in to this topic as well.

  2. There are a few people online that I haven't figured out yet. Waxy. But that's kind of turned be away from them. Most of the people I communicate online with, I feel I've seen some "real" enough to be satisfied. if that makes sense. :)

    1. Yep, I generally get turned off of the "waxy" ones too. I need that level of "realness" in order to keep investing. I want to know I can trust others--at least to the point where I'm satisfied as you so appropriately mentioned.

  3. I think this is why it's so dangerous for us to compare ourselves with people we mostly interact with online. We're only getting a glimpse of their lives - not the whole story. Whenever I feel jealousy or feel superior to someone online, I make sure that I'm praying for that person. That seems to keep my heart in check and weed out those nasty emotions.

    1. There have been some fascinating articles about how chunks of time spent online can increase the risk of depression, etc.

      I often want others to know I don't usually post about struggles I'm dealing with and there are a lot of reasons that play into that decision. But I also feel the tension of wanting others to understand they exist for me as they do for everyone.

      Prayer is an excellent go to.

  4. I think there's a pretty naive side to me that always assumes the friends I'm meeting online are completely genuine. Maybe that's because I've met quite a few initially-online friends in person--and found them to be just as awesome in person. However, I can't deny that there's a tendency to want to put our best online and save the worst for our private lives. And in some ways, I'm pretty okay with that. I don't think I need to share ALL of me online always. At the same time, I'm grateful that I've got enough FB/Twitter/blog friends who see me in person from day to day to keep me honest and sincere online.

    1. I agree, no one wants our gripes and "the worst" of us but I wonder about the "putting our best online" part. It all makes just makes me think. And crave sincerity. Which brings me back to that Donald Miller quote.

      And thankfully, I'd say a high percentage of folks I interact with on social media are rock solid. Grateful for that!

  5. I had forgotten the root words for "sincere". As people of God we need to practice being 'without wax.' before God and those around us.


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