I have the great privilege to be friends with a couple of genuine people. We often speak on matters of God, faith, the Bible, the world, and many other subjects. A conversation I had with these people not to long ago led to a statement that has been bouncing in my head for about a month. The gist of it is this, "When you identify a problem, don't stop there, give a real solution."
This statement has really opened my eyes to how we in the church use our Christianese (a term to describe our church talk) to answer questions that people pose to us. When people come with real problems we throw out some phrase, our maybe even a Bible verse thinking that we are doing a great service, but in the end we give them no real answer or peace. I am reminded of James's words. "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or food. If one of you says to them, Go in peace; keep warm, and well fed, but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
The sentiment that James uses is the same with our one word or stupid phrase answers. For instance, if you say, "sharing the Gospel is the most important and overriding function of the church." Ok, Great! When was the last time that you yourself, individually, and one on one, shared the Gospel with a lost person? How well did you know this person? Are you seeking out people that you both know and don't know to share this Gospel with? If not, do not say the Gospel is a primary mission of yours, because it is a lie.
Or if someone comes to you and says "I am having difficulty dealing with this or that, or my world is crashing down." Do you give them empty words saying that this is all in His plan? Or do you embrace them physically, emotionally, and spiritually reassuring them that you are here for them. Do you take time out of your day and resources away from yourself in order to show them God is caring for them? If you are not doing this, you cannot say that you love your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Christian Veneer is only as deep as you allow it. The sad thing is that it is easy to spot a "Veneer Job." Think about a counter top in a kitchen. What is the difference between a real granite counter top and one that has been veneered with an imitation surface. From a distance it looks the same. With every small move forward you can tell a real difference. The person who has the veneer will tell you how wonderful it is and will try to convince you it is real. But, lets be honest, it looks fake and it feels fake because it is fake. The real granite is strong and sturdy and it is there to be used for what it is. It does not have to constantly remind those who look at it that it is strong and sturdy. The veneer on the other hand needs special attention. It says, "I am what I pretend to be!" BUT! Test it. It fails in everything but appearance.