Do you know what the word 'genuine' means? We often hear it used in the context of treasure or art. "This is a genuine painting by the original artist", the expert might say.
After talking with a friend, I was considering what this meant in the context of everyday living. What does it mean to be genuine? What does it mean to be someone who can be trusted to be real? The conversation was also related to the subject of integrity, something which is very much on my heart and the heart of my wife. To be people who can be trusted and honest and act in a consistent manner is what the world is looking for. When we have integrity, our actions and words are entwined. They are twins that cannot be separated. They are one and the same. Being genuine leads us to a place of integrity.
So, what does 'genuine' mean? Broadly speaking, it means to be authentic, to be real, not counterfeit and free from any form of pretense. In the context of an original painting by an artist, this means that someone has not copied it and made a forgery. In life, this means that we are totally real. We can be trusted as the 'genuine article', as some people might say. We are not a forgery.
Being genuine means we are consistent and true. We are real with people and ourselves. When someone asks us a question, we give an honest answer. When we meet people, we are real, open and vulnerable. There is nothing hidden away from view or kept in secret. We are not pretending to be something we are not. Have you ever met a person in one situation and then found them to be different in another? We are the same person, wherever and whenever people meet us.
As I considered the conversation with my friend, I started to look at my own life. How genuine am I with people? How genuine am I with my wife? My friends. My children. My finances, my business and my customers. Being genuine should not be confined to one part of our lives. I can't be genuine with my wife but not with my customers. It is who we are and how this permiates into everything we do and say. A painting is either real or fake - it can't be both.
As you have read this, perhaps you have felt challenged about what it means to be genuine. Maybe there is an area of your life that is fake or a forgery. I know I am being challenged to look at every area of my life again.