Hypocrisy is ugly.
Just ask all those people who responded to Barna surveys: “I don’t like Christians because they are critical and hypocritical.”
Personally, I hate being a hypocrite. I don’t want to be ugly.
I’ve come a long way. People have called me real. Authentic. And I am surely more real and authentic than I used to be.
Living for seven decades, walking with God for more than five decades-yes I have become increasingly the person God made me to be. I tend to accept that I have definite strengths and defined weaknesses. Beauty and flaws. Abilities and inadequacies.
I like who I have become-most of the time. I love that I have a love affair with words. Others are better as writers and speakers than I am, but I am grateful that God uses my words well. And I probably take too much pride in my grammar and spelling gifts.
I’ve usually at peace with reconciling my love for people with my introverted nature-I know when I have to sneak away by myself. I rarely feel the need to control things anymore, unless I think people I care about are being hurt or devalued.
I am passionate that God’s daughters are encouraged and empowered to be and do all God created them for. I feel I have made significant contributions toward that in my spheres of influence, and I don’t get as worked up about it anymore.
So most of the time I can see the beauty of who God made me to be. I still wish I were able to sing, and had two more inches of height, and that the last 20 years hadn’t added well over 20 pounds to my short frame.
But those shortcomings no longer mar the beauty I see in God’s workmanship. He says I am a work of art. I think God is a good artist–I like who He has made me.
Except for those ugly hypocrisies I can’t seem to shed. Those whiny attitudes. The critical words. The envious desires. They tarnish the beauty.
I pray a lot-compared to many people. I even lead a prayer ministry, write about prayer, teach about prayer. Yet I know I don’t come close to the “pray about everything” and “give thanks in all circumstances” and “pray always” and “always believe” admonitions of Scripture. I’m not what people think I am. I’m a hypocrite, and that is ugly.
I love to encourage people. I think it is God’s primary calling in my life. I love to speak blessing and pray blessing, to let God use me to put courage into the people in my life. I love to give-to friends, to strangers, to those in need, for no real reason. Yet so often I’m “too tired.” I don’t make the call, or go visit. I even avoid. I’m a hypocrite, and that is not lovely.
One of my greatest joys is to see people discover their gifts and grow into using those gifts to reveal God’s good work in them, to bless others, to reflect God’s creativity. But sometimes I am jealous: Why are they so good at that? Why don’t I get recognized? When will I get invited to speak at that event? I’m a hypocrite, and there is no beauty in that.
But then that wonderful Creator, who called me a beautiful masterpiece, gently reminds me:
- I know you are dust.
- There is mercy for sin and grace to grow.
- I’m not finished with you yet. The tarnish will be wiped away.
- I will present you pure and holy and complete before the Father on that unveiling day.
We start with beauty, and God keeps making it more. Beauty to beauty, glory to glory.