Friday, March 14, 2008

Lent:: Hypocrisy and the Do As I Say Mess

My daughter and two of her friends got themselves into a bit of trouble at school. There is a boy who we will call Bob. Bob, according to my daughter's side of the story, was being aggressive and unfair to the three girls. In response to Bob's hostile actions the three girls chartered a club. This is where the issue is. The school has a policy against student initiated clubs. Although, I am completely against my daughter violating rules, and also feel like returning aggression with an allied offense is a carnal rather than spiritual response, I still can not seem to miss the irony that this policy is being legislated and enforced by a unionized workforce.

"Do as I say, not as I do!" I think there is no cliché that is more lived our before children than that one. It is the general policy that your behavior is subject to my rights, but my behavior is not subject to your rights. My wife is the QUEEN of this in regards to cell phone. She can not answer a cell phone. No matter the time of day, her location, and even her known urgency she CAN NOT flip her cell phone open with a friendly, "Hello!" Now I and most her friends have accepted this bizarre personality quirk as just part of the fabric of who she is. Yet, she has gotten literally IRATE at me, because by some weird chance I have left my phone at my desk, in my car, etc... and for the ONCE in a blue moon occurrence, was unable to answer her call.
"Do as I say, not as I do!" She heralds a carry and answer your cell phone so you are available at my every whim policy, yet will not avail herself to the same courtesy to you.

Now I chose the above issue, since it is light hearted and I heckle her about it frequently. Yet the issue behind the hypocrisy is serious in my accounting. Many children, and adults alike have been wounded by the double edge of this selfishness. Parents have wounded children by punishing them for lies, while the children see their parents lying to ease their way out of a stressful engagement. Church leaders have wounded their congregation by preaching against sexual immorality, while being ensnared to it personally. The church as a whole has preached a message of concern about the least of these, while building bigger auditoriums, with better audio, projection, and lighting systems.

As people watch the duplicity of those in authority is perverts their ability to see beyond the falsity of their lip service and engage on any level of truth with that individual. This is why Paul makes the issue of transparency so important to Timothy while giving instructions on the selection of elders:

1 Timothy 3:2-7 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

I included this text, not for your consideration in your congregation's next elder selection, but instead to challenge all of us to practice the kind of maturity Paul is stating needs to be present in the life of a leader within God's church.

It is important to my sincerity that I not claim to speak with authority on matters of eternal truth if I am not practicing gentleness, peacemaking, simplicity, and compassion that substantiated Christ message through his lifestyle. It is an anathema to the cause of the Kingdom when our conduct is not in submission to our message.

My mother was kind enough last time I was home, to point out a glaring hole between the lifestyle I live and the message I speak. I don't want that disparity. I want to practice the incarnational presence of Christ through mending the gaps in the fence between my carnal struggles (greed, lust, pride, and laziness) and my spiritual freedom in Christ to not be bound by that old nature.

I know I certainly have a long way to go. Yet still I say, "Here Am I Lord, Send Me!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You certainly said a lot here. Most notably that Christi is a pain in the butt when it comes to answering the phone. Amen, brother.