A few years ago, I bought what I thought was a high quality watch from a street market stall in New York (yes, ok I know….I was an ejit for getting it). Pleased with my purchase, I proceeded to wear it and show it off with great pride. However within a week, said watch had literally fallen to pieces. It was a cheap imitation of the real thing and I’d been ripped off!!

Cheap imitations never last. Truth is, we live in a world of fake. It’s not just about the dreaded fake news. There are fake relationships, fake appearances, fake lives, fake identities…there is a lot of fakery out there. What’s interesting is how a generation has caught onto it. There is a desperate desire among them for reality. This is one of the reasons I love this generation so much.

However, in a world of fake, we must be sure never to assume that ‘negative’ is real. It can be so easy to revert to the safe ground of cynicism as a way of protecting ourselves against all the falsity we encounter. But the problem is that negativity is also fake. You see, it’s the cheap imitation of ‘honesty’. But it’s not honest.

Negativity is harsh and judgmental. It forms a biased opinion against others without basis or foundation. It’s like a form of predjudice – suspicious, uncaring and unreal. It’s also intrinsically selfish, protecting it’s own self interest instead of pursuing what is right. It is lazy and sloppy, the most convenient route for a distrustful heart to take. But it’s cumulative fallout is huge – and a culture of low trust will always be it’s consequence, something which is never to the advantage of our world.

As Christians, this poses a dilemma for us. After all, we are people of faith. So do we too make negativity our default reaction to all the falseness in the world? It’s all well and good to say that we are believers in God and not in people, but this is utterly flawed thinking. Faith in God will always lead to faith in people – ALWAYS. It’s the faith that people can experience God’s love, the faith that they can live with purpose, the faith that people are valuable, the faith that God can work in people despite the shallow fakery of their lives, the faith that no-matter how messed up someone’s life is, there is hope.

So how do you stay real in a fake world? Faith IS the answer. It’s the only answer. It’s gritty. It’s messy. It’s earthy. It pays a price. Faith is the carrier of God’s greatest gift to our world – ‘love’. Never stop believing.