Who Are You Really?

A reading for Tuesday, January 14, 2013: John 1:19-28

"Who are you really, John?" is the question the scribes and the priests are asking.  The Pharisees, who were looking for control in every situation, sent the scribes and the priests to find out information about John.  Perhaps they give away their own lack of sincerity in asking such a question?

The Pharisees were masters at appearing one way and acting in another.  They believed that obeying the law of Moses was the way to demonstrate God's presence in the world, and worked very hard to show off a certain image of righteousness.  At the same time, they often used control and manipulation to maintain their position from the "back rooms" of power.  Out of their own world view, they are accusing John the Baptist of doing the same thing.  "C'mon John, tell us who you really are?"

John, however, is authentic.  He confesses.  He does not pretend to be something that he is not.  He is not the Messiah.  He is simply the one that points to the Messiah.  John knows his place and is genuinely himself in response to the Pharisees.  There is great freedom in that.

We live in a world where people constantly appear in one way and act in another.  "Image is everything," we are told.  How often are those that appear to have our best interest at heart working like the Pharisees behind the scenes for their own "back rooms" or power?  Perhaps we too are tempted to act in such a way or at the very least to question others sincerity and authenticity.

Consider John.  Resist the temptation to be controlling.  "Be yourself!" is perhaps the most important advice anyone can give you.  No matter what everybody else is doing, be yourself.  Know who you are and genuinely respond to others from your own sense of identify.  There is great freedom in that to be sure.

Just be yourself!


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