Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about a few subjects close to my heart. One of these issues is how to know when people are being their true self to me, and does that really matter?
The first part of the question is the worst part for me, because I want people to be real with me. I am not oblivious to the fact that people are different in their different environments. When I am supervising a group of kids at a scouting event, I may not be the same as when I am dealing with my own children at home. When a person is working in a professional office they may not act the same as when they are at dinner with their friends. The problem for me is when a person says they are one thing, they believe one thing, and they are living one way, then in their private life there is nothing further from the truth than their claim in front of people. I hate to see people put on a front of lifestyle, yet inside the walls of their own personal life, they are completely the opposite. I know we all sin, and we all fall short- that is to be expected. However, when a man (or woman) gets up in front of our congregation (or other public place) and makes a claim to lifestyle, then I find their lifestyle is not what they would like to me think, I am very disappointed.
There is no room for intentional hypocrisy in this girls world.
I cannot hear a man tell me I shouldn't be a drunkard, then spend his evening in a bar drinking his dinner.
I cannot hear a man tell me I should be a woman of integrity, then lie about his lifestyle to make people think he walks his talk.
I cannot watch someone treat their spouse like they are the center of their universe in front of an audience of peers, then never take them seriously in their passion and conviction at home.
I cannot accept that it is ok for men (or women) to be in a position of influence or leadership without having any amount of humbleness or ability to admit their shortcomings.
Condemnation from someone who has no integrity is a tough act to watch.
Plus I think I have said before that everyone lives in a glass house.
The second part of this pondering of mine is, does it really matter?
For me, it does matter. I want my children to know that integrity is important. Virtue is important. Morals and conviction are important. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is not. Pretending to be something because you are afraid of disappointing someone else- ridiculous. Having a false witness- ludicrous. So tired of that last one.
To me, a false witness includes, but is not limited to, standing on the promises of God for a moment just before you return to the cave of intentional sin you keep hidden so there is no guilt or sense of conscience. Having no guilt or conscience requires lots of excuses, lies and deception. Not only to yourself, but to your spouse, friends, church family and God.
My final thought is simply who do you think you are kidding?
Do you think your spouse doesn't smell the alcohol on your breath, or see you shutting off that pornography? Do you think your friends don't notice the way you treat your spouse on occasion, or your kids don't see your indiscretions? Do you think the people you lead don't notice that you have a different set of rules when you leave the building? Do you think those of us watching you and looking to you for leadership, friendship, fellowship and more don't see your lifestyle choices and shake our heads in disbelief and hurt? Because this girl is really disappointed and I am really hurt by your decision to lie to yourself, much less lying to me.
In conclusion (college writing completely overtook me for a brief moment :) ) I am sometimes surprised at what some of my most trusted peers shock me with. Sometimes I am not even sure what I should be thinking, aside from going back to basics to love people where they are, and with what they are dealing with at that moment. I do not mean to say that every bit of hypocrisy is intentional- I tend to believe hypocrisy is a trap non-Christians want to get Christians into so they can point out their flaws and lack of effort to improve. Non believers just do not understand how far forgiveness goes, and how hard it is to break a lifetime of habitual issues once you make the decision to change. The problem here is, the lack of making that decision. I just want the people I love to live up to the expectation that your commitment to Christ is taken seriously enough to make the decision to make a change, or at the very least admit you need to.
Praying for commitment and change.....