Monday, 28 January 2013


“Sincerity is an openness of heart, we find it in very few people; what we usually see is only artful dissimulation to win the confidence of others” – La Rochefoucauld, Reflections

While signing letters we often write “Sincerely Yours”. Have you ever wondered how the word sincere evolved? The word “sincerity” indeed has an extremely interesting origin. At the height of Rome’s fame when the Tiber River was lined with noble palaces made of the choicest marble, men vied with each other in the construction of these dwellings. Immense sums of money were paid for the gifted sculptors. However some less skilled artisans resorted to deceitful tricks to maintain their position. If they accidently chipped the edges of the stone or discovered some conspicuous flaw in their carving they would fill up the chink or mask the deficiency with a specially prepared wax that looked exactly like marble. Sometimes their deception would not be discovered for months on end, until extreme heat caused the wax to melt and dislodge. Hence those who decided to erect additional mansions began to insert a clause in the contract to the effect that the work from first to the last was to be ‘sine cera’ that is “without wax”. Thus we derived our word sincere/ sincerity, which mean “to avoid any attempt to misrepresent”.
Let us then not ‘wax’ up our faults for this is not sincere! It is extremely important for all of us to be sincere, honest, and truthful in all that we say and all that we do. Very often we find it easier to shade the truth, and gloss up the facts. One of the distinguishing marks of the character of Jesus was His complete honesty. Being Truth incarnate His word can always be relied upon. It is beyond question.
White lie is one of the most common evils of our day. God cannot tolerate lies and deceitful soft soaping. He deserves within and without. Let us hence not bluff one another! Pretending to be that which we are not is living a lie. Being silent when we know the truth is also being insincere. Silence speaks and often does so very loudly!
If we are honest we will be sincere. Our God is a sincere personality and hence He lays a high premium on sincerity.
The older brother of Insincerity is Stealing. Stealing has different forms and often will not be recognized. It may be a carelessly prepared income tax return, taking a full salary for half hearted work, or even no work at all. Underpaying an employee or employing persons in jobs not corresponding to their expertise and qualifications, and then underpaying them amounts to cheating and robbing. One can be very insincere as far as promises are concerned; broken promises emerge from an insincere attitude. Keeping one waiting or going late for an appointment or for class also amounts to robbing -- robbing others of their time! All who encourage flattery; nepotism, discrimination, and bias are all different flavors of dishonesty. Pretending to be happy when the heart is in distress and worried or just the opposite are all the forms of insincerity - of nurturing the wax that glosses up the facts and the reality and are absolutely hypocritical.

“There should be more sincerity and heart inhuman relations, more silence, and simplicity in our interactions. Be rude when you’re angry, laugh when something is funny. And answer when you’re asked” ~~Anton Chekhov, Letter to A.P. Chekhov, Oct. 13, 1888.

~~ Crystal David John