How about a little lesson in Latin to begin your day! I know, I know, you’ve heard Latin is really boring. Trust me, this “dead” language can teach you an important lesson about life; besides, I am not asking you to conjugate verbs, I just want you to learn one word: sincerus. As you can probably guess we get our English word “sincere” from this verbal relic. Sincerus is like an unassuming visitor, plain on the outside, but very interesting once you get acquainted. So let’s get acquainted with this little word. Sincerus is really made up of two Latin words, “sine,” meaning “without” and “cera,” meaning “wax.” Are you ready for this? Sincereus means “without wax.” Nothing profound so far, but hang with me.
In ancient times, porcelain was a hot commodity. The best pieces were pristine, absolutely devoid of imperfections. Dealers would advertise these prized vessels as “sine cera”—without wax. Here’s why: Shady retailers had a little method for covering up tiny cracks and blemishes in their inventory in order to make them more attractive to potential customers. A minor scratch or a little crevice was filled with wax to make the vessel appear flawless. Unsuspecting buyers could be fooled, but those in the business knew the secret to making sure the porcelain pot wasn’t wearing makeup. If the customer doubted the dealer’s honesty he would simply hold up the piece to the light. If there were cracks in the pot, the sun would reveal them.
David was the king; he was also a “cracked pot.” He had committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. In our day a politician knows such a scandal can ruin his career; in those days it was likely to cost him his life. David had rubbed the wax of deceit deep into the crack of his character, but he knew it was just a matter of time before he would be found out. Finally, the pressure of trying to live the lie was too much. He came clean with God. Psalm 32 describes the relief he felt when he finally dug the wax out of the cracks.
Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my sin is gone. Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust in the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy all you whose hearts are pure! (Psalm 32:1-5,10-11 NLT)
Let’s be honest, it is frightening to be authentic! It is much easier to cover our little cracks and imperfections with some “wax.” But there’s a problem with wax—sooner or later someone is going to hold us up to the light; our flaws will be revealed and the value of our character will drop faster than last year’s calendar. Yes, being honest is risky business, but nowhere near as risky as trying to hide the crevices and cracks in our character.
Good character begins with honesty. We don’t have to advertise our “flaws” for the world to see, but we certainly shouldn’t try to cover up our imperfections either. If we want to hide cracks, there is plenty of wax to go around; but if we want to be the authentic vessel, the best place to begin is with God. Like David, allow him to hold up your life to the light of his Spirit. Let him take a good look at your thoughts, business dealings, relationships, and words. And when he reveals an imperfection, stop right there and ask him to help. God doesn’t need to “cover up” the crack, he can fix it.
FOCUS: Today, before you go any further, quiet your heart and let God hold you up to the light of his Spirit. Ask him to reveal any imperfections and then with his help, make the corrections!