The phrase “The Real McCoy” is defined by idiomsthefreedictionary.com as “something that is genuine, authentic, or exactly what it is claimed to be; the real thing.” They add that the origin of this phrase is not definitively known. We might also note many people use the phrase to describe a person who is of high moral and ethical character. A synonymous phrase would be that something or someone is “the real deal.” That is, not a fake. Harry Truman said, “Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it.” I wonder if he really meant that, or was he faking it? Truman was President, of course, and his quote brings to mind the little girl who asked her dad, “Daddy, do all fairy tales begin with, ‘Once upon a time’?” He replied, “No, sweetheart. A whole lot of them begin with, ‘If elected, I promise …’ ” Ever hear the term “fake news?? The words are used to describe false or misleading information presented as news. It is often created to influence political views or as a joke. The term does not have a fixed definition and has been applied broadly to any type of false information presented as news. Fake news reduces the impact of real news by competing with it. The Bible’s words for “fake” include words like “deceive, deceit, guile, false,” etc. We don’t have space to refer to many Bible passages, but a very famous one by Jesus warns in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” He was talking about religious leaders who advocate false doctrines / teachings. Fake gospels? Religious fakes? Even fake preachers and fake Christians?! Say it ain’t so. But the evidence is in — and sadly, it is very true.

The topic we are thinking about here is character, and perhaps a little more precise, integrity. Things like honesty, truthfulness, goodness, sincerity, purity, etc. The Bible has many statements about integrity and the difference that it makes in a person’s life. Proverbs 11:3 states, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Again, Proverbs 19:1 declares, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.” Jesus was talking about integrity when He first met Nathanel and said in John 1:47 (New King James Version), “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” The King James Version uses the words “in whom is no guile.” Nathanel was not a fake! He was “the real deal.” He was “the real McCoy.” The take home point in all this is Christians should always “keep it real.” Have integrity. Be honest. When the apostle Paul reminded Christians at Thessalonica how he and his companions Silas and Timothy behaved while in their city, he used these words — “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ” (1 Thess.2:1-6). The character Paul personally claims should describe every Christian — no pretense, no attempts to fake others out or teach something false or do a cover-up. As a Christian, just be a “real McCoy.”