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Entries in Hypocrite (2)

Tuesday
Oct162018

Hypocrisy Check, Please

Speaking into the lives of Millennials but with truth for every season, Kaley Faith Rhea provides both humor and insight. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she tackles the hypocrisy problem with grace and truth.

Kaley says, "One of the first things they’ll tell you at Singleness Camp: 'Never go on a second date with someone who’s rude to the restaurant wait staff.'"

HA! I (Dawn) think that's simple common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people can't decipher the lies of a hypocrite.

Kaley continues . . .

This isn’t a post about dating or singleness. But as a single person, I hear a lot of dating advice, good and bad, and it’s interesting to me the seemingly universal nature of this rule.

People will tell you stories.

“The date was going well, and he seemed really nice… until he thought he saw a hair in his salad, and he made the waiter cry. I blocked his number while we were still at the table, and he was so offended.”

Or “She seemed cool. But then she sent her food back three times and started swearing about the silverware? I ran away. Just literally started running. In. A. Direction.”

People of all different philosophies, backgrounds and theologies seem to agree: if you come across someone who wears different faces for different occasions, do not align yourself with that person.

But what about me?

I have to confess, I align myself with… myself far too often and way too staunchly.

It is so easy to spot hypocrisy when it’s sitting on the opposite side of the table.

But when I allow myself the comfort of that sort of farsightedness, the only real change I can effectively affect is adding fuel to the fire of my own arrogance and blindly participating in the irony of my own hypocrisy.

The number one way for me to fight hypocrisy is to ask the Lord to fight it—in me.

Remember Romans 2:1-5?

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 

"We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 

"Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 

"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 

"But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.”

Oh, man.

To be clear, it’s NOT hypocritical to call wrong things wrong or right things right based on the Word of God. And it is absolutely right and just to call out abuse where it exists and remove abusers from positions of power, every time.

But in my everyday, it’s hypocritical when I hard-heartedly set myself up as righteous as if anything other than the sweet, miraculous, merciful grace of God could ever make me right.

It’s hypocritical when I decide God should deal graciously with my sins, but I should deal harshly with yours.

It’s hypocritical when I call your wrong things wrong and my wrong things nothing.

So here’s my little checklist that starts with this prayer:

Holy Spirit, soften my heart, and don’t allow me to hide or to justify. Lead me to repent, fully confident in Your goodness, trusting in Your mercy, and grateful beyond words for the powerful way You forgive and produce real heart-change.

Hypocrisy Check:

  • Am I doing anything that's counter to God's Word of His character?
  • Am I doing anything I would be upset with someone else for doing?
  • Am I doing anything that is entirely about being seen by someone rather than being Jesus to someone?
  • Am I miffed at someone for not putting me first when I'm definitely not putting them first?

In Luke 6:41-42, Jesus gives us this famous word picture.

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 

"How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.”

You hypocrite? Sigh. ME hypocrite.

But the Lord doesn’t leave us there, all log-eyed and useless.

And isn’t it wonderful how, even in all the moments we don’t deserve a second date, our sweet Savior has still lovingly, unflinchingly called us his bride?

Just in case you're wondering whether you are log-eyed, go back over that Hypocrisy Check. Is there something you need to confess to the Lord and allow Him to change in you?

Kaley Rhea is the St. Louis-area co-author of Christian romantic comedy Turtles in the Road (along with mom, bud, and writing partner Rhonda Rhea) and this year’s non-fiction release Messy to Meaningful: Lessons From the Junk Drawer (co-written with Rhonda Rhea and Monica Schmelter). To read more by Kaley, visit her blog.

Tuesday
Jun192018

Righteous 'to the Core'

In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson reminds us to guard our "heart"—the center of our spiritual life.

"Maybe," Dawn says, "I was trying to be cute in Sunday school—I don't know—but the Lord sure  zeroed in on my 'clever' quip."

My Sunday school teacher, Dr. Dirk Van Proyen—who is also a deep and godly seminary professor—began class with an illustration before expounding on Matthew 15:1-9 and related scriptures about how Jesus dealt with some self-righteous Pharisees.

He held up two apples. They both looked solid and inviting on the outside. But then he described how some apples become rotten from the core out. The rottenness is only discovered after we bite into the apple!

He then explained how the Pharisees stalked Jesus and tried to trap Him with a question about His disciples supposedly not following the Pharisees' "traditions."

But Jesus didn't fall for their distortion of truth. He pointed out the Pharisees' hypocrisy.

They were "rotten," Dr. Van Proyen said, "to the core!"

My teacher made his summary statement about what we could learn from the day's lesson, and class was officially over. As usual, a well-taught class challenging us to seek God and live according to the truth of scripture.

But then I raised my hand. I just had to say it.

"In other words, we need to be RIGHTEOUS to the core," I said.

Ordinarily, such a display of "brilliance" would have earned me one of the professor's coveted whiteboard stars. The class was obviously impressed.

But since it was the end of class, my husband simply leaned over to me and said, "That would normally have gotten you a star."

I smugly thought, "Yeah, I WAS pretty clever with that one, wasn't I? Bet NO ONE ELSE thought of that."

Nearly strangled myself patting myself on the back.

Then I got home and the Lord hit me squarely in my pride.

"Daughter, you need to be sure that you really ARE 'righteous to the core.'"

And I knew exactly what God meant.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with being clever and wise. But it's wrong to gloat, to think we're "one up" on anyone else. We're to let others praise us, the Bible says, and not praise ourselves—we're only to boast of the Lord (Proverbs 27:2; Jeremiah 9:23-24).

I argued with the Lord a bit. After all, I did let someone else praise me—my husband!

Again, the Lord nudged my heart.

Check your humility, Dawn. Check your heart.

The funny thing is, Dr. Van Proyen spoke about the heart too. I heard it, but I missed it.

I got so caught up in the academics of the lesson, I missed the personal application.

So the Lord had me revisit the lesson. And I saw it clearly. Jesus had a lot to say about the heart.

1. We can be outwardly clean, but in our hearts we can still be rotten to the core.

That was the whole point of Jesus' conversation with those who tried to entrap Him.

The Pharisees delighted in strutting around, boasting about their knowledge. With high-sounding criticism, they laid the heavy burden of man-made rules on people instead of teaching them the simplicity and wisdom of the Word of God.

But Jesus saw their hearts.

We can fool others, but God will always see our core.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our delusion about our own spiritual health, we can even fool ourselves!

The heart really is deceitful, isn't it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

2. We can worship God all we want, but if our hearts are "far from Him," our worship is empty.

As I sat reflecting on Sunday afternoon, I wondered how many times I've attended a "worship service," but—even as a believer—my heart was more Pharisaical than Christlike.

We can go through the motions and do all the "right" things—and still not be righteous.

As I read these words, tears came: "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me...."

Jesus, refering to Isaiah's prophecy, said the judgmental, burden-laying, hypocritical person's worship is "vain" or worthless (Matthew 15:7-9; Isaiah 29:13). It's empty. Fake. A farce.

Oh, dear Lord. Have mercy.

3. We can choose to remain "rotten to the core," or we can turn to Christ who can make us righteous to the core!

Paul wrote,

"God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

The word "righteous" refers to a person who is morally right or virtuous. The unrighteous, Paul said, will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9a); but—wonderful truth—Christ has become every Christian's righteousness, sanctification (holiness), and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).

In His encounter with Israel's elite, Jesus said our righteousness must "exceed" that of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20). We can't, like the Pharisees, try to earn our way into the kingdom through our own self-righteousness. We must instead trust in the righteousness of Christ on our behalf (which is positional righteousness).

Our good works (or practical righteousness) must only come AFTER salvation, because all of our own righteousness (before Christ) is like smelly, filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

And, scripture teaches, any good works done with the wrong motivation stink too! (Proverbs 16:2; Romans 8:8; Philippians 1:17; Proverbs 21:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:4)

That's too easy to forget.

We forget we have NO righteousness apart from Christ.

Yes, this side of heaven we will always face the presence of sin; but without God's merciful, regenerating and transforming work in us daily, we cannot conquer sin or live out righteousness. We cannot bear good fruit (John 15:4-6). When we are born of God, our heart changes and we no longer desire to "go on sinning" (1 John 3:9), but there is still a war within and deliverance only comes from our victory in Christ and through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:14-25; 8:1-13).

That is why . . .

4. We must learn to learn to walk in the Spirit if we want to live out practical righteousness.

I was a Christian for many years before I understood what that meant. I thought walking in the Spirit was only related to occasional supernatural expressions of the Spirit, as in the days of the early Church. But walking in the Spirit is meant to be our daily practice!

To walk in the Spirit, we must daily—and throughout our day:

  1. acknowledge our utter helplessness to do anything good apart from the Holy Spirit's control and enablement (Romans 7:18);
  2. confess sin and ask God to work—to clean and renew our heart and empower us to live righteously (Psalm 51:10);
  3. die to sin's influence and be alert to the Holy Spirit—trusting Him to equip and enable us to "keep in step" with Him (Romans 6:11, 14; Galatians 5:6, 25);
  4. act righteously—or practice making right choices in accordance with who we are now in Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 2:10); 
  5. and express gratitude to the Lord for any wisdom, strength, power and influence we have—and any right choices we make—because He alone is our righteousness, He alone is our victory, and He alone deserves all glory! (1 Corinthians 15:57)

I "got the message" that day, and I truly want to be righteous to the core. Don't you?

How is your heart today? How is your worship? Are you walking in the Spirit, abiding in Christ?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Marlene_Charlotte at Pixabay.