Posted by: New in Every Way | October 3, 2012

Would You Rather Be a Hypocrite–or Not?

~~  Removing Roadblocks to a Healthy Self  ~~ How Real Life Connects with the Bible

How can I ask, “Would you rather be a hypocrite?”? I’m asking because—if we’re honest—there are times we don’t like to deal with reality. We are more comfortable hiding our true feelings. And we prefer to be around well-mannered hypocrites than people who are who they are.

Take, for example, this parable Jesus told:

28“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29” ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
32Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.  (Matthew 21:28-32 NIV)

The second son (the one who automatically said, “Yes, sir,” but did nothing) probably never embarrassed his parents in public. He had good manners. People probably said of him, “That Joel is a good kid.” But Jesus said people like him were highly unlikely to see the truth about themselves, repent, and enter the kingdom of heaven.

The first son—the mouthy one—was the one Jesus clearly favored. He started out just like his brother—he didn’t want to help his dad. But he handled the situation entirely differently:

  1. He was truthful about his feelings. (You know, he could have said, “Gosh, Dad, I really don’t want to” instead of “Nope, I won’t.” but at least he wasn’t unwilling and lying about it. His father knew where he stood.)
  2. He had a heart. Maybe he saw how tired his dad was, and realized, Hey, someone needs to pitch in and help.

If our lives are full of pretense—keeping up outward appearances regardless of who we really are inside—we will fool even ourselves into thinking we’re okay when we really are not. Worse yet, we will end up with a hard heart. It takes honesty—messy though it may be—to keep our hearts real and soft.

With all good intentions, most parents train their children to be good by insisting they behave correctly. The Bible says correct behavior happens naturally when the heart is right.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23 NLT).

Wouldn’t it be better to encourage such qualities as enthusiasm and kindness in a child even if their behavior is a little crazy—rather than clamp down on their behavior in a way that quenches their spirit?

What does this have to do with the current theme of truly loving yourself? Well, how can you become the person you really want to be if you’re afraid to be real?

Making It Personal

  • Which is more important to you—to look good or to be good?
  • Would you like to live genuinely, from the new heart Jesus has created in you? Will he be upset if your behavior is a little messy as you learn to do that?

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