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Dear Student :: Authenticity

‘Dear Student’ is a series of posts that are directly aimed at today’s teenagers. I am a youth pastor and am able to speak into our students’ lives constantly. But these posts are different. This series of posts are intentional, directed pleas to the next generation, based on some specific convictions about the unknown dangers that lie ahead. My tone is meant to be strong. My intention is to invest in you.

Authenticity isn’t a word I hear out of your mouth very often, but I hear you talk about it all the time.

From what I’ve heard you say and what I’ve studied about your generation, you desperately want honesty.
Out of your friends.
Out of your parents.
Out of your teachers.
Out of your pastors.
Out of your president.

As your pastor, I see a huge value in doing life with you in complete authenticity.

There’s just one problem. You demand authenticity from everyone around you, but you put on a front.

I’m not going to blame you…yet. You’ve been taught by the generations above yours (including my own) to show people that you have it together; that you don’t need help. Facebook has taught you that you can create a status, yet live a completely different life from what you post. The American Dream has taught you to “get yours” so you don’t have to rely on those around you.

Before I move on, you should know this. I realize you might be mad. That’s OK. I just want you to wrestle with this.

Authenticity breeds trust. Trust builds greater relationships. Not to mention, covering up the real you is exhausting. I’ve tried. We haven’t even taken into account that Jesus invites you to come as you are (Matthew 4:19; Mark 2:14). And to do life with other believers, together pushing toward Christ.

The beautiful side to your generation is that you demand the realness. You don’t fall for people who don’t live what they believe. You want authenticity from your spiritual leaders?
Then, we need it from you.

Consider yourself challenged to live authentically.
As enticing as it is to lie…about whatever, you will look back on your life and see that it wasn’t your life at all. It was someone else’s. You were a slave.

Most likely, to people you don’t even like anyways.

Live freely.
Live with authenticity.