My own hypocrisy

Today in church I listened to a very challenging, and eye opening sermon. My Pastor spoke of the quality of my heart; what do I hold an abundance of in my heart? Because whatever that abundance is will come across in my behaviors, my actions, and my words. What I say shows you, tells you, what exactly is in my heart. And I am not proud to admit it but what my words and my actions have shown is that I am a hypocrite. And I really, really, really don’t like to say that. However, it doesn’t make it any less true. So my Pastor challenged us today. He challenged me to either change to where the abundance in my heart reflects God, and my love for my Savior; or to continue excusing my actions, not caring, and stay exactly as I am.

I know He wasn’t speaking directly of me, but it felt like he was preaching to me personally. I listened today with a troubled heart because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be one of those people who say they love God, and proclaims themselves to be a Christian…but doesn’t live according to their own beliefs. One of the reasons I turned away from Christianity was because of that. I don’t want to be that reason for someone else. I don’t want to plant that seed in someone else.

So what can I do to change? The first thing I can do is something I have wanted to write about, but have been struggling with actually doing it. The first thing I can do is change how I speak. Words mean something. Words carry more meaning, more punch, and more devastating power than any weapon man can make. But we, as a people, have misused them and abused them. I have done my fair share in distorting the very beautiful gift of language. And I’m not talking about a specific language. I am talking about language in the very basic terms. Words, no matter what language you say them in, carry the same meaning. And I am guilty on many occasions of destroying the very awe inspiring, and breathtaking meaning some of these words carry.

I don’t want to count the number of times I have said the words “I didn’t mean it/that” just in the last year. If I didn’t mean something that way, or if I didn’t mean to say something at all….then why did I say it that way, or at all? Oh I’ll always have an excuse to why I said it but excuses don’t make things right. The truth is that I didn’t want to make the effort, take the time, or think about saying something different or not saying something at all. It is pure laziness.

But I console, and justify, my own laziness by telling myself that if this person truly is my friend, and if this person truly loves me…they will understand and excuse my behavior too. And while yes, that is true, that shouldn’t be the thought process coming out of my heart. Putting all the work, and effort, onto someone else that I love and care for shouldn’t be the dominant thought in my heart. It isn’t fair to the people I love and the people I care for. It isn’t fair to my friends.

I should be showing them my own love, my own friendship, by putting forth that effort and taking that time. Is the pain, and possible misunderstandings, between me and those around me really worth the energy I’ll save by not thinking about what it is I am saying? The people I love, the people I care for, heck the people just standing around me…deserve my time. They deserve my effort. They deserve my thought and consideration.

Then I tell myself I shouldn’t have to be so careful with the people who mean something in my life, with the people who are closest to me. And I am right. I shouldn’t have to. I should want to. I mean is it really so hard to be quiet for moments before I actually speak, to think about what I am going to say, before I actually say it? Is that examination really so time consuming? It’s not. I can’t justify my own laziness. The reason I can’t justify it is because it is wrong. It is self-centered. It is self-serving.

If I can’t back up what I am saying, I shouldn’t say it. If I don’t mean what I am saying, I shouldn’t say it. If I didn’t mean something in a certain way, I should find another way of saying it that I do mean. So I am going to go through some very fundamental and important, basic words that mean something to me in a way I never understood. Granted not in this note, but in following ones. I want you to know what I mean, and why I mean it, when I say something. I want you to know where I am coming from, and where I stand when I tell you something.

And when I tell you that I am completely in love with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I want you to know I mean it. So that means I have to change. That means saying shoot rather than replacing those o’s with an i. That means I have to cut out words like “damn it” and the derogatory use of “God.” Cursing in general has to go right out the window. Because how can God take my love for Him seriously if I can’t even put for the tiniest effort of saying a word that isn’t so offensive to Him? Sure, I won’t go to hell if I swear, but it is still offensive to my Lord and Savior. Sure, my Mother will forgive me if I lie to her, but does that mean I lie to her every chance I get? No. I don’t hurt the people I love simply because I know they will forgive me. And God, He is certainly worth that effort.

What I say, what I read, what I do, fills up my heart. It, then, is reflected out in every aspect of my life. How can I expect anyone to see the light of my own salvation when I cover it up with small sins that I could easily correct? How can I possibly show anyone I love God when I spend my time on Facebook playing a game that rewards me for terminally depressing another girl? I have dismissed it because it is just a game, but that game says something. My support of that game says something. It makes me a hypocrite. It gives me an excuse. And if I am hurting and tired of my own excuses…..how must my Lord feel?

I have been asked if I am going to become a ‘prude.’ And I’ll be honest, that use to be a fear of mine. That I will no longer be fun to be around because I no longer am willing to do, say, read, or participate in the ‘cool’ things. I’m not afraid of that any more. My life is juicy, sweet, and full of life. I have passions and fires that will never go out, but they will be reserved for the man I am meant to complete. I have a choice of living up to the standards and expectations of man and society…..or to the standards and expectations of the very God who gave me His only Son so that I may live in bliss and heaven for the rest of eternity. There really is no choice, no competition.

So my life needs to reflect it. The abundance of my heart needs to reflect that. What I say needs to show that. How I behave needs to burn with the light of it. You all, every last one of you reading this, deserves that much for me. Every last one of you is worth my time, effort, and energy. You also deserve my apologies for my own hypocrisy. I can’t promise you I’ll be perfect, but I will tell you that I will do all I can to be better.

Starting now.

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