A couple of weeks ago, I sang a song at our wekend services called "Happy Plastic People". It has been a while since I’ve gotten such a reaction to a song. I wonder if it it because we can all connect to the whole idea of not being real. We want to be more authentic but fears, insecurities, and pride cause us to put on masks that hide who we really are.
A recent survey indicated that among the top reasons people choose not to go to church is that there are too many hypocrites there. I have come to learn from my own life, as well as many others, that this survey speaks more truth than we might be comfortable with.
Did you know that among the teachings of Jesus, the subject of hypocrisy was one of his more common topics? Why? I guess it is because He ran into so many of them.
Jesus seemed to have incredible amounts of compassion and mercy upon those who were aware of their own brokenness and weakness. He reached out to them. He touched and changed their lives. But he was relentless and almost without mercy toward those who acted as if they were something they were not. He seemed to be very angry about this problem.
1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
Lately, I have been asking myself some tough questions. (Yes, I sometimes talk to myself.) I have been desiring a more authentic life. I know that sometimes I am fake. The trouble is with what I believe. What I know to be true is so difficult to live that I fall short. Sometimes I say I love when I really don’t. Sometimes I act holy when I’m really not. (Which if you think about it is being holier than thou.) So I guess I am an honest hypocrite.
Jesus was continually slamming the religious leaders for their plastic lives. He would tell them they looked good on the surface but inside they were totally messed up. The problem wasn’t that they were messed up, it was that they tried to act like they were something they were not. They were hypocrites.
I see myself being more and more like Jesus and less like a hypocrite in the future. His life was truly amazing. In the Gospels, "The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law" (Mark 1). Why were they amazed? Because when Jesus spoke, His words matched His life. And people can sense it when we are real. People pick up signals from us that either ring true or they don’t. Jesus was full of "grace and truth" and they could feel it. I wonder if sometimes people think I'm full of it? (Know what I mean?)
I want to give you a quote from a book I’ve read,
"Here is a surprising point: recognizing our hypocrisy is a source of power. When we become willing to monitor our hypocrisy, we discover that intense personal shame drives us to close our integrity gaps. Accepting the truth about our hypocrisy helps us to transofrm ourselves and others." "Building A Bridge As You Walk On It"
I’ll talk more about his tomorrow.
I am becoming more willing to monitor my hypocrisy. I want to be real with you. I want those who know me to respect my real life. I am purposing to take off all masks and emerge more like the true me-more like Jesus as well. I believe this will ultimately honor God.
How about you? How do you feel about showing us the real you? Does that sound scary or what? Write to me and tell me what you think.