Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is being a hypocrite really such a bad thing?

Often, when someone learns of my blog, they question the title. They seem to think they need to educate me on what "hypocrite" means or inform me that it's not a good word to have beside the word "Christian", as if I don't already know this. However, what I also understand is the truth that so many Christians like to pretend doesn't exist. 

A survey in the book "unChristian" by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons reveals that 85% of young non-Chrsistians belive that present-day Christianity is hypocrritical. And, even more amazing is the fact that 47% of young churchgoers agreed! (myself included)

We are hypocrites! Or at least that is how we appear as a whole to those around us who don't understand the gospel. I mean think about it! If you didn't truly understand what Jesus did on the cross then how could you understand someone who is imperfect stating that sin is sin. Really, let it sink in! I'm going to re-word it as many possible ways as possible until I'm sure you are picking up what I am putting down.

Without true understanding of what Jesus did how could you grasp someone saying that lying is wrong and then catching them in a lie? If someone told you that it wasn't ok to steal and then they took home paperclips from work would you want to listen to them? Yes, paperclips! Taking something as small and simple as paperclips is still stealing if you do not have direct permission to do so! And, while it may not big that big of a sin to you, it may be horrible to the person who has had to pay for everyone else's theft of paperclips for 20 years! And, no, I'm not trying to add one more boulder on your shoulder for you to carry around. I'm not trying to give you another law to memorize. It's actually just the opposite, I'm trying to help set you free! I'm making a point... No matter how close to God you are or how spiritual you believe you are, you will NEVER be perfect! You will always commit sin and there will always be others around to witness it! 

I mean let's face it, our actions will undeniably appear to contradict our beliefs at one point or another rendering us hypocrites in the eyes of those around who don't understand the main belief (which of course we could never contradict). And, can we blame them? Didn't Jesus say in Luke 23:34, "Forgive them they know not what they do"? How can we expect those who know not what they do to know better? How can we expect those who don't understand what being a Christian is all about to understand what being a Christians is all about? 

The sooner we grasp and embrace the facts the better! Isn't admittance the first step toward overcoming a problem? Why does being called a hypocrite have to be a bad thing? When I hear that word what I really hear is, "I don't truly understand Christianity." One may have head knowledge, they may have studied the Bible their whole life, but that is not equal to true God-given revelation. And, is preaching at them really going to help? Is getting angry at them and demanding they behave properly really going to inspire true change?  Should we want others to behave properly on the outside when they don't truly understand the beauty of Christ on the inside? And, if they did truly understand on the inside would we really need to give them laws to live by on the outside? Doesn't the Bible say countless times (Heb 10:16, Jer 31:33, Prov 7:3) that He will write the laws in their hearts? Even Jesus Himself did not choose to physically reign as King while He was here on the earth because He understood that people are changed from the inside out no the other way around!!! Do we really need to keep trying to do his job for Him? I mean it really hasn't been working that well anyways! Don't they already have enough laws to live by and isn't that the reason they are so fed up with us hypocrites anyways? 

Yet, if instead, we were to humble ourselves and admit that we understand and even agree with their point of view, perhaps they would be a little bit more willing to be open to ours. Imagine how much different the church would be viewed if instead of trying to hide ourselves and our problems, we were open with them. Imagine if, instead of trying to pretend we were perfect, we all just got real and admitted that we aren't and we won't ever be! 

And, if we were to admit our shortcomings and failures then perhaps those around us would be free to extend a little compassion and sympathy instead of waiting around for opportunities to point their fingers. I have kids and when one of them gets caught doing something wrong, nothing irks me more than their refusal to admit they did it. If they refuse to own up, I come down harder and harder until they do. However, if they come to me with the truth and they are already confessing and repenting then what else is there to do but love them? 

Besides it's all in the way you look at it, hypocrite really just means imperfect human and isn't that really what we all are? People who make mistakes. And, doesn't the word mistake itself imply that you know that it's wrong? That you did something you didn't think you should have? And, don't we all do that? 

Oh, and on a quick side note... I'm excited to announce that there is now going to be a co-author on this blog. When she posts, it should state that she is the author at the bottom and when I post my name will appear there :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's funny how God will often use my own words or lessons I've shared in my past to help me with something new. Dealing with the current situation I shared this morning, I began to waiver back and forth if the way I handled it was the correct way. Then, someone on fb liked the note (that I copied and pasted below) that was written months ago, drawing my attention back to it and it spoke to me in a whole new way and gave me the answer that I needed. Go figure! LOL... Plus, the irony that the only other status I shared this morning was about how I don't like to re-edit old pictures or re-read old books but perhaps that's something else I should change about myself, haha ;)

Caleb just came to me crying and said that he had to pee but there was paper in the potty. Which he has a habit of not using the potty because he will not flush for someone else. So, I assumed I knew what he was saying and lectured him all the way to the bathroom and then flushed it and walked out to which he replied, "Uh oh! Momma!" Now, I could have continued to ignore him and walk away which would have resulted in one huge mess left behind (which would have rightfully been my mess to clean up, not his)! But instead, I chose to listen and turned around to notice the toilet starting to overflow. I immediately grabbed the plunger and was able to do some damage control which helped the mess be a lot less than it would have been. However, there was still a pretty big mess that could have been avoided had I not been so ignorant and full of pride.

Then, I realized how this mirrors when people just choose to ignore the wisdom of those they believe are too small or weak. And, it particularly reminded me of a friendship in my life that recently ended this same way. Someone made an assumption and turned to leave and refused to listen to the "Uh oh's" then tried to come back and pretend like there wasn't a mess to clean up. And, even worse treated me as if it was my mess to clean up.

I know a lot of you are going to judge me for this. But, I watch the Kardashians and I do so because I believe it's a good example of how relationships should be. They have aweome boundaries with each other and when one is wrong or crosses the line, the rest tell the truth. They don't pretend it didn't happen. And, the person who is wrong, regardless of who it is, is always the one to apologize and do the damage control.

In a recent episode, Kim heard a rumor that her best friend was writing a "tell-all" book about her. So, she started out good by going to directly to him; however, she went about it all wrong! She treated the rumor she heard as truth and tried to scheme him into fessing up. Then, when he tried to explain to her that she had it all wrong, she completely ignored him and stormed out! I could tell by the look on his face that he hadn't done anything wrong and didn't even know why she was so upset; but, she didn't even know her own "best friend." She couldn't read him. She couldn't take a second out of her rant to acknowledge the words and thoughts of this guy she had known and trusted for so many years. So anyways, when Kim finally got a copy of the book, she learned of her mistake and tried to make it right. She went to this guy and flat out admitted her wrong and apologized, something so many seem to never be able to do. But, he told her that he couldn't just overlook the fact that she had treated him so badly and the fact that she didn't have any respect for him at all to even listen to him hurt too much and he asked her to leave. This is where nobody could fault Kim, she did what she could but now it was on him. Yet, she didn't just take the no. She continued to do what she could to fight for the friendship and it paid off. Her friend forgave her and the bond was strengthened.

When I watched that episode, I literally cried because I saw a cycle I have gone through over and over in my life with friends. When people wronged me, I was taught that love just always overlooks the wrong instead of the one in the wrong being taught that they did something wrong. So for the first 28 years, I always took whatever treatment anyone wanted to give me while I still did all that I could to treat them the way I would want to be treated. Then, I began to learn that was unhealthy and that it was my duty as a Christian to hold them accountable and not to enable. So, I would tell them what hurt me and, even if they owned no fault and weren't sorry, I just continued in friendship with them. Then, I started learning that just saying something yet still receiving it was still enabling so I began to set boundaries which resulted in a lost friendship every time. Then I would dwell on that loss and re-play over and over again what I could have done differently to keep the friendship. I even have some severed friendships, that even though I was the one wronged, I have gone to that person over and over and over again trying to fix it. Eventually, after enough rejection, I learned that I have to wait for a person to come to me. And, that's where I am now.

I think I've finally officially learned to wait until a person who has wrong me comes back on their own; but today, just before the flood in my bathroom, I found myself still trying to do all of the work for a person who wronged me. I couldn't imagine if Kim had gone back to her friend and pretended like nothing happened or even worse demanded that he apologize to her and treated him as if he should feel so lucky to even be given another chance to be her friend. She would have lost a person very close to her for sure! Yet, why is it so easy to see what's right other people's lives and not in my own? Why do I so desparately want to get along with others that, even with all of the knowledge to not do so, I sill just receive whatever treatment they want to give me to some extent? Why can't I just let the closed doors be closed doors? Why do I hate broken fellowship so much that I allow it to be used as a tool to manipulate me? Why can't I just let go? Why are some things so much easier said than done?

Oh, in case you are wondering what this spoke to me... it's that ignoring and acting like something isn't happening is never the answer. I can't believe I even was considering continuing down that path since the book I've been reading by Leslie Vernick repeatedly taught that the answer to an ongoing problem is never to just ignore it and pretend it isn't there nor is the opposite end of the spectrum, to explode, the proper way to handle it; but, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It's weird how you can grow so custom to living in sin and even using the Word to justify it that you don't even recognize what you are doing!