Category Archives: hypocrisy

Personal Short Sales

Please indulge me in a moment of navel gazing.

I’ve been on a sojourn of self discovery and self awareness lately.  The pilgrimage has been an opportunity to view my life with new eyes.  To see myself through the lens of truth has been beneficial, but at times biting.  The first step to being the person that God created me to be…the person that I want to be is being real with myself.  That means coming face to face with my foibles…so I can fix them.  It’s a journey that’s been long overdue, and I’m glad to say that I’ve been embracing it.

I had an interesting conversation tonight.  I was telling my friend how I could sell anything to anyone.  And I believe that.  However on the drive home I had an epiphanic moment…one of those face to face instances that kind of rocked my world.  The truth of my statement was hidden in the phrase that I left off.  “I can sell anything to anyone because I believe in the product.”  Which made me think about all the times I sell myself short.  It doesn’t take a world class jumper to make the next leap.  The reason I sell myself short is because I don’t believe in the product.  Wow!

In my conversation with my friend, I was encouraging him. He’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He has so much going for him. He’s compassionate, super intelligent, has a great sense of humor, he is empathetic and so much more. I couldn’t understand how he didn’t see those things in himself. As I drove away, I began thinking back on our discussion, and I realized that we had something else in common. I felt as if someone was holding a mirror up before me, and for the first time I could see my reflection clearly.  That’s when I heard the words I was saying echoed back to me…the same words people have said to me so many times. And in that instance, I saw how easily I discounted each encouragement.

And that’s when the light bulb illuminated.

I need to believe in my product. I have been selling myself short, but no more. Watch out, y’all! My fetters have been loosed. I can’t wait to see how different things will be from now. I’m ready for the next leg of this journey.

What about you?  How do you sell yourself short? What will it take to make you see yourself the way others see you?

A New Look at an Old Book: Amos 6-9

Reading through Amos is a difficult venture. There is so much forboding, judgement and most of all SIN. Sin from the people that God has set aside. The very people for whom God had designed the richest of blessings, whom He had saved from destruction repeatedly…these same holders of promise who willingly slaked their bonds with God in favor of idolatry. They chose immorality over righteousness, depravity in favor of the sacred, and essentially spat in the face of the gifts and calling of the Creator. Oh, it’s easy to see how God could be so mad. It’s easy, from our lofty perches, to look down on the Israelites in this story. How could they possibly be so stupid? They deserve to be smote! Right?

Oh, how quick we are to judge. How conveniently we forget our similarities to the gross injustices perpetrated by these smote-worthy individuals. Oh, we NEVER seek to serve ourselves, right? We couldn’t possibly be consumed with immediate gratification, could we? Certainly we don’t put anything ahead of our relationship with God…not our romances, nor our jobs or our leisure time. No! Not us!!!

The more I read, the more I find that I am woefully similar to the poor saps in this story. I willfully choose to behave sinfully. I have become adept at ignoring His voice. I can turn a blind eye to his leading…all in favor of my own wants, my own “needs” and desires.

So God is understandably miffed. I get it. I would be, too. He uses the prophet, Amos, to bring his message that He has had just about enough!! After years and years, no generations – of His people turning their backs on Him, he was putting His foot down.

And even then…

In the midst of reading them the riot act.

Barely a hiccup happens between His promise of retribution and punishment and His overwhelming mercy again. He loves so much, that even when He’s forced to bring us about to justice, He’s offering yet another reprieve to those who will just turn away from wrong – and turn back toward Him. How many times will He soften?

When I read this I am convicted. I’ve made some really poor choices of late. Choices that were self-serving and ultimately detrimental not only to me, but to others I care about. As I immerse myself into the words of Amos, I see all too clearly a mirror held up to my own life…and I don’t like the reflection. But as I peer inside, over my shoulder I see the open arms of my Father, God who loves me so much that He is willing to offer me His embrace and His forgiveness – AGAIN.

And suddenly, I know the depth of His love for me.

Wake up Call

I’ve just joined a new group on Facebook in which we are reading through the New Testament in three months.  Today’s reading was Matthew 8-10.  Lately, I’ve taken to reading “The Message,” one of the newer versions of the BibleGod has really used it to open my eyes to more of Him and His truths.  For those of you that are purists, you probably will not appreciate the simplicity of language that this paraphrase utilizes, but I have found it refreshing to have another “voice” in which to hear God.  When I read these old, familiar verses in this new manner, I find that I have more questions.  Where I used to hear a lulling comfort in the words, I now have a stirring of ideas and queries that need to be sated.

I found the first part of today’s reading to be a little disturbing.  Maybe it sounds strange to say that, but I found it troubling to see the juxtaposition of the compassion Jesus displayed to all those who were hurting and in need of healing in verses 8:1-18 to the curtness and, well, crabby-ness when dealing with the religious scholar, the mourner and his own disciples in the boat in the remaining verses of the same chapter.  What’s even stranger is that I found the exchange to be somehow comforting to me because I could more easily see the humanity of Christ in these conversations.  This passage of scripture is rife with emotional charge.  I can identify with that, and it makes me love Jesus even more to know that we have that in common.

Chapter 10 jumped off the page, in particular. Christ is telling his disciples how to go about the business of, well, discipling.  He tells them they don’t have to fulfill some grandiose vision of ministry.  They don’t have to go to some far-off land, they don’t have to have some huge fund-raising campaign, they don’t have to look, act or be anything but who they are!  Man!  This is a lesson our church needs to learn today!  I know I did.

Let me share with you how these words read in The Message (my own emphasis added):

“5-8 Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers.  And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy.  Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood.  Tell them that the kingdom is here.  Bring health to the sick.  Raise the dead.  TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES.  Kick out the demons.  You have been treated generously, so LIVE generously.  9-10″Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start.  You don’t need a lot of equipment.  YOU ARE THE EQUIPMENT, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day.  Travel light.  11″When you enter a town or village, don’t insist on staying in a luxury inn.  Get a modest place with some modest people, and BE CONTENT there until you leave.

If you don’t believe this is something Christianity struggles with, just turn on the television and turn to ANY religious channel.  With few exceptions, you will see the opposite of what you have just read!  Reading the next few verses, you will see even further that we are MISSING THE BOAT when it comes to what Christ expects of his disciples.  I just want to pick out a few mandates in bullet point:

  • Be gentle in your conversation.
  • Don’t make a scene.
  • Stay alert.
  • Don’t call attention to yourselves.
  • Don’t be naive.
  • Others will smear your reputation — Don’t be upset
  • Don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it.

The part that struck me the most was in verses 21-23, nestled right in the middle of the passage, a truth so quick and so simple that I think we just gloss over it:

“There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!  But don’t quit.  Don’t cave in.  It is all well worth it in the end.”

We have a lot of hate in this world.  In the church we hate and then we paste a pretty label on it and call it “righteous indignation” or attribute our nastiness to our Christianity.  In the world we hate each other because we look differently, act differently, smell differently, believe differently.  I don’t want to be the type of “Christian” I see on TV.  I want to be the type of person that Christ describes in today’s reading…content, satisfied, pleasant, non-confrontational, peaceful, modest, alert, and trusting.  I have a long way to go.  What about you?