Not everyone excels at hypocrisy. While the majority of the world believes Christians own the ring on this one, some of us might need a little help. Knowing this, I’ve created a simple strategy that will assist anyone seeking to live in opposition to his or her proclaimed beliefs.
Step 1: Research the right things to do.
I have been a blogger for nearly seven years and have expended great amounts of time and energy during those years researching how to be a good writer, a better blogger and an overall effective communicator.
Step 2: Tell others about what you’ve learned.
Last week I led a short teaching session on how to blog and blog well. One of my main points was that consistency is more important that frequency. It’s better to communicate regularly than to suffer ebbs and flows of informational eruptions.
Step 3: Proceed to publicly ignore what you’ve learned and taught.
Since that little teaching session I have blogged a grand total of … once. Yup. Once in two weeks. This after series that blasted readers daily for a week. Oh, and I’ve also completely neglected twitter and facebook because, clearly, THAT’s sign of consistency.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Our family motto was all about transparency and consistency. I learned it growing up and hold tightly to it today. Like most people, I abhor hypocrisy. (If you missed the sarcasm in the first part of this post, please take note of it now.) I can’t stand contradictions of proclaim and deed … and yet I do it all the time. The motto is great, but it is far easier said than done. Goals, values and momentum are far easier to set than to maintain.
Sometimes we set our goals to unreachable heights.
Sometimes we fail to internalize our values to the degree that living by them is of utmost importance.
And sometimes life just interrupts.
Lately I haven’t written, by I have made significant progress in cleaning out our basement. I haven’t blogged, but I have finally finished painting our dining room and ordering replacement furniture. (All remaining visages of Hurricane Sandy and her impact on our home are now gone! YAY!) I haven’t socialized much, but I have attended every baseball game, softball game, piano practice and ballet event with my kids. (The girl’s recital is on Sunday! I can’t wait!)
I am completely okay with these choices. No offense to you, but I consider my family to be far more important than my readers or career. And I know that soon enough these projects and seasons will end and then we’ll settle back into predictable consistency.
Interruptions, by definition, are temporary. They cease eventually and then all (or at least “most”) returns to normal. Falling victim to interruptions or prioritizing life’s many roles doesn’t equate to hypocrisy. Allowing interruptions to become the norm, however, might.
Contradicting yourself once in a while is human. We all do it. A lifestyle of contradiction is hypocrisy. This is what we are called to avoid.
As I read through 1 Peter this morning I couldn’t help noticing the implications of transparency. We are to say what we mean and mean what we say because …
- This grows us to spiritual maturity. (2:2)
- It provides evidence of our salvation. (1:14–21)
- It provides testimony of Christ’s excellency. (2:9)
- It brings honor and glory to God. (1:6-7)
I love verse three of chapter two.
“… if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
This is an obviously rhetorical qualification. This letter was written to believers. All believers know that the Lord is good! We have tasted it through salvation and blessing. As such, we are called to set aside all that is not good, all that is dishonest and deceitful so that we might “grow up into salvation.” This verse both challenges and comforts. It highlights the ridiculous duplicity of our actions and gently reminds us that God is good … even in the face of our hypocrisy and striving.
5 Tips to Living What You Say
So, how do we set all that aside? How can we avoid living in contradiction to what we believe when we, as humans, are inherently flawed? Here are a few suggestions.
- Set reasonable goals and standards for yourself and others. Baby steps, folks. We all want to be great, and we can! But it rarely happens overnight. It takes time.
- Fill your mind with truth. Read your Bible. Memorize verses. Listen to truth-speakers and edifying music.
- Surround yourself with others who live in truth. Iron sharpens iron. Hang with people you want to be more like.
- Establish accountability for those personal minefields. Invite a trusted friend to check in with you on key areas of struggle … and listen humbly when they confront you.
- Keep your mouth shut. Don’t broadcast what you think everyone else should do unless you actively apply that truth to your own life.
One last admonishment and then I’m off.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” — Romans 12:2
My list of tips is rather short and pretty basic. What advice do you have for living what you say? Or maybe you have tips for confronting hypocrites close to us. How can we lovingly and gently encourage them to live more consistently?