I think that there is one characteristic that draws us to a person more than any other trait.

Just the other day my friends and I were talking about someone we met and unanimously loved this individual because of a particular word that emerged as we described him. It seems that if a person posses this one quality, people can’t help but be drawn to them: authenticity.

A real friend is an authentic friend.
It is a surreal moment when you realize you are accepted 100% for who you really are by your friends. It is one of the best pictures of the Gospel through others that I have seen.

Why is authenticity such an admirable trait?

I believe that we are drawn to authentic (or genuine) people because our culture is anything but authentic. Instead of being honest and genuine with those around us, we are conditioned to create a pattern of phony personas and then exert all of our energy to protect this false image.

The authors of The Cure call these made-up personas “masks”.

The past week at Impact 360 was a module that has an infamous reputation among current students and alumni. Lovingly referred to as “TrueFaced”, this module confronts students on the issue of masks versus authenticity.

During TrueFaced week, the classroom is transformed into a cozy living room atmosphere and students, after reading the book The Cure, are confronted with the tension between the reality of who they are and the masks of who they portray themselves to be.

This module rocked my world when I was a student at Impact 360. I sat across from my peers whom I had grown to love so much and we came face to face with who we really were. Masks of self-sufficiency, security, popularity and perfection crumbled as we confessed the genuine struggles in our lives.

The coolest part about the TrueFaced module, though, was that we were finally free to be authentic.

Learning to be authenic has led to friends I thought I would never have.
Learning to be authenic has led to friends I thought I would never have.

As we shared these deep parts of who we genuinely were with one another, we were met with grace instead of chastisement and critique. We found comfort in realizing that while we were not perfect individuals, no one in the room was. This radically changed our Impact 360 community as we began to live out of authenticity instead of dishonesty.

The security we found in Christ through his ability to make us new in light of the Gospel made us brave enough to be authentic with each other.

It was here, in this module of TrueFaced, that I became passionate about authenticity. I learned to strive to be genuine instead of perfect – truly secure in Christ. We decided to put the masks down and embrace who we really are instead of what we portray ourselves to be.

Authenticity is what our culture is searching for.