Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In which the hypocrite ingests truth serum

Today my kids were doing their Bible study lessons, and one of the words they were supposed to define was the word 'hypocrisy.' It got me thinking, and the thinking has turned to blogging.

If someone is a hypocrite, they are pretending to be something they aren't. Or they are pretending NOT to be something that they actually are.

Warning: the following is a shocking discourse of brutal honesty.

Basically my whole life I have been a hypocrite in one way or another.

When I get up in the morning and put on makeup, the first thing I do is apply concealer. By the time I am done with my makeup, I am giving the distinct impression that I am NOT tired, and I Don't have stress or chocolate induced zits on my chin.

Hypocrite.

When I do my hair, after I have blow dried it and straightened it, I am giving the distinct impression that I have straight hair.

Hypocrite.

When I put on a shirt that fits in my midsection, I spend the entire day sucking in my stomach in order to give the impression that its flat.

Hypocrite.

When I write a blog, I always click the handy little "spell check" button before I post it, giving the distinct impression that I am a flawless speller.

Hypocrite.

These are the silly things, the shallow things, NOT the things that really matter. But, I'm not done.

When people are coming over to the house, the kids and I spend time cleaning it up (and by that I mean, we toss things into closets and drawers and cabinets) in order to give the impression that we are neat and organized people.

Hypocrite.

On our way to...everywhere we go...I give the kids my standard lecture about how I expect them to behave in public, and what behavior is not allowed. That way, anyone who takes a second to look our way will see 4 quiet, polite, well-mannered children standing beside their mother obediently.

HYPOCRITE.

Most Sunday mornings are hectic at our house. We have to be at church at 8 a.m. By the time we walk out the door, I am usually furious with my husband for how long he spent brushing his teeth, or shaving, or eating breakfast, or how late he slept in...but when we get to church...there is a smile firmly plastered to my face, and I only speak kind words.

Holy Hellish Hypocrite, Batman.

Because I grew up in a Christian home, I have a pretty good handle on how to 'talk' Christian. I could have spent the entire day mentally (and sometimes not mentally) cursing at my filthy house, or choosing to watch television instead of reading my Bible, or talking on the phone to someone about how much my life sucks, but still be able to switch into "Christian Mode" the moment someone asks for prayer, or advice, or encouragement.

I. Am. A. Hypocrite.

Aren't we all? Don't we all put our best foot forward? Don't we all answer the question "How are you?" with some form of "Fine" even if we aren't?? Don't we smile when we are really so stressed, or sad, or angry, that we want to throw something or punch someone or break down and cry? Don't we look for ways to act like we are a certain way in an attempt to mask the way we actually are?

Don't be a hypocrite. Admit that you do it too.

Isn't anyone else getting tired of it? What if we all showed up to church on Sunday without makeup, without Spanks, without being fake nice to our husbands or kids who we were just yelling at 5 minutes ago, without the pat response of "I'm great" or "I'll be praying for you" ready to jump off our tongues whenever its needed???

We would all look like a bunch of chubby, exhausted, frazzled, compassion-less jerks.

But sometimes we are. And why do we think that putting our best foot forward, or never having an argument with our spouse, or always feeling "great," or never forgetting to do a sit up, makes us better Christians?

Aren't we just amping up the pressure for the people we are trying to influence? Aren't we just saying "This is how you're supposed to look, be, act, feel, talk, respond and if you don't...you better start faking it until you are, because thats what we expect from good Christians."

Yes, I do realize that sometimes people say "How are you" in passing, and they don't actually want an honest answer. Its their attempt to PRETEND to connect. What if, just once, you answered a person's passing "How are you?" with the truth...even if the truth isn't pretty, or quick, or socially correct.

"How am I? I'm doing pretty dang crappy, as a matter of fact. These shoes are too small and they're giving me a blister, but they keep my feet from looking as big as they actually are. I can't breathe because my girdle is cutting off my ability to inhale, but I needed it to pull things in and push things up. My husband overslept today, so I had to get the kids ready all by myself, and I made all of them cry by yelling at them to hurry up. I haven't read my Bible in over a month, I haven't spoken to my sister in over 3 months, and all I really want to be doing right now is laying in bed watching Brad Pitt movies."

Either that person will run away from you immediately, or they will blink and reply that they will pray for you, or they will wise up and NEVER ASK YOU THAT QUESTION AGAIN.

I've decided I'm going to quit asking the question "How are you?" on Sunday mornings, because I never have enough time to stop and actually wait for an honest answer, and I don't want anyone to be compelled to give me the "fine" response if they aren't actually fine.

Instead, I'm going to say "Good morning. Its good to see you." And if someone asks me how I am...I'm going to be honest, or at least try to.

Because I'm way too tired to be a hypocrite all the time. Its too much stinking work. Its way harder to pretend to be one way than it is to be who I actually am.

I'm not saying be the whole, honest, ugly truth of who you are to every single stranger you meet. I'm just saying...take a look, a good, long, honest look at the people around you. Do you really think they like you better with your stomach flat, and your complexion smooth, and your children perfectly behaved, and your marriage operating flawlessly, and you smile always ready, and your days always going 'great?'

I usually, secretly, want to stick my tongue out at those people.

What I really want is everyone around me to admit that life is a crap shoot, and we are all just struggling to keep moving, and none of us get it right-not even most of the time.

I think, if we are those people, and we are willing to admit our struggles, and failures, and pain, and weaknesses, then we become even better vessels for shining who HE IS.

Because, seriously, if He can use me...He can use anyone. And if He still loves and accepts me without makeup, or Spanks, or a good attitude firmly in place, then there is hope for everybody.

Plus, hearing how bad your day is going will make me feel better about how bad mine is going.

Here is a reminder for me, and its a relief. I hope it is to you too.

"He forever made PERFECT those who are BEING made holy." Hebrews 10:14

He sees us as perfect. We can't get any better than perfect, no matter how hard we fake it.

He is making us holy. Its a process. None of us have arrived.

If we act like we have it all together, we are hypocrites.

If we reveal our failings, and admit our faults, we are giving to those around us the freedom to do the same.

I am perfect...and I'm a mess. I can handle it. Can you?

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