I've been hearing a lot about hypocrites lately. They're all over the news: Ted (practice what you preach) Haggard, Al (no racist remarks here) Sharpton , Al (don't look at how much energy I spend, look at what I'm doing to save the planet!) Gore . You can't go too far on the street without coming face to face with a hypocrite. You can't get too far out the front door! Every morning when brushing my teeth I come in direct, immediate contact. Being hypocritical is who we are, it is the daily struggle between who we are and who we want to be. There is no greater example in my life of how hypocritical I am than parenting. I remember sitting on the couch with the kids one night and watching a movie-family-oriented, very moving. Ahh! family..."Aidan would you quit moving up and down and Emma get out of the way!" WHAT! Am I not watching a family loving one another and here I am yelling at my kids because they're invading MY space! Hypocrite!
And I'll say it loud, "I am a hypocrite, but I'm in good company!"
By Faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family...
Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.
By faith he [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country.
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abrahm went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was sever. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you lave. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. he said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I am famished!" Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright."
By faith the people passed through the red Seas as on dry land
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt!"
WOW! For every noble act by these Old Testament characters there are a multitude of deceits, lies, grumblings, connivings, schemes, plots, etc. YET, Hebrews records their faith. It seems in the midst of our humanness, when we turn our wills over to His will the Blood of Christ is what is remembered, what is seen.
That's what life's journey is about - reconciling who we want to be with who we were. A favorite movie line of mine comes from Disney's Lion King. Simba has run away from his tribe. He is confronted by Rafiki to remember his heritage, that he is royalty, the rightful heir. The spirit of his father, Mufasa then addresses him, reminding him to remember who he is, that he is not yet who he is to become.
George MacDonald, in the Princess and the Goblin opens his story with my favorite introduction:
There was once a little princess who -So I may doubt God's provision in my life when I'm finished typing this blog, doubting His personal love for me. I may yell impatiently at various members of my family, nagging them to clean up. I may mutter a few choice words to the driver who just cut me off. But that doesn't take away from who I am in Christ. Now, my life's journey is to see that old, reprobate self fade from the mirror and my new self - a princess if you will, daughter of the King - in it's place.
"But, Mr. Author, why do you always write about princesses?"
"Because every little girl is a princess."
"You will make them vain if you tell them that."
"Not if they understand what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
"What do you mean by a princess?"
"The daughter of a king."
"Very well, then every little girl is a princess, and there wold be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud. I have seen little princesses behave like the children of thieves and lying beggars, and that is why they need to be told they are princesses. And that is why, when I tell a story of this kind, I like to tell it about a princess. Then I can say better what I mean, because I can then give her every beautiful thing I want her to have."
"Please go on."
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plan in you own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,'when all the time there is a plant in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)
These words of Jesus cause me to stop before speaking of someone else's faults, discrepancies. AND YET He reminds us to not neglect the brother's speck - deal with yourself so you can show your brother his speck. What a call to community! There's a lot of bravado involved in pointing out another's specks but it's what Jesus asks of us.