Recently, it is becoming increasingly difficult to write for this blog, as I struggle with my own sins and in keeping a good heart, much more than normal. As a wise friend once pointed out when I first started this blog, it holds me accountable for practicing what I preach. It makes hypocrisy a more explicit danger. I use explicit because it doesn't necessarily make it harder, or easier, to be hypocritical--it just makes it more obvious to others and yourself; both the danger of being so, and the guilt of having done so. Depending on how you look at this, this can be good, or bad--good because it forces you to be more aware--bad because it gives you an opportunity to do so without the ease of concealing it up afterwards.
I'm going to go with good. That's one good thing about a religion which many people think is synonymous with hypocrisy--the association makes you much more aware and sensitive to the inevitable lapses into hypocrisy that we all fall into, than one normally would otherwise.
Almost every time, before I hit the POST button, as I scroll through what I've typed, decide if that's the most appropriate Pin for this post, if there's an under representation of Asians on this blog's images--I wonder. How much of this all is just Christianese, a glib rearrangement of religious vocabulary that makes me seem wise and pious? If only I could write like C.S Lewis and Walter Wangerin but--that doesn't get us anywhere, or I wouldn't be writing this post; I'd be a respected name on a real printed book cover!
Hypocrisy is always with us, lurking on the fringes of our actions and words. I acknowledge that freely, because I see that everywhere around and inside of me. Hypocrisy flourishes when there is enough knowledge of what is actually good but no real commitment to pursue it.
In literature, Christianity often comes up as a device to explore the hypocrisy of man. At face value this is an unsparing condemnation of a religion. As life experience shows me, it is nothing more than another painful means to truth--to the depravity of man, in twisting something good into something worse, to human nature which hasn't changed a whit, even centuries later. How ugly it is. As Gene Edward Veith said: 'Cultures as such cannot be Christian--only individuals, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, can have faith in Christ. Sometimes a religion that becomes wholly intertwined with its culture becomes false and idolatrous, confusing cultural customs and institutions with spiritual truth.' (Reading Between the Lines)
But if normalized, institutionalized, cultural Christianity was the sore that bred such hypocrisy then--what is the sore of our modern society today?
Because we make a lot of noise about hypocrites and insincerity (check social media rants) does it mean we're necessarily more aware of it in ourselves than Brocklehurst and other unsavoury Victorian religious hypocrites in literature were? Unfortunately hypocrisy is not always in the form we best recognize it in.
I am thankful that my struggles help me realize how close I am, all the time, to becoming a hypocrite. I am thankful that although I feel terribly unsure every time I think of writing the weekly article--but how could I, so often clutching my sins to myself, dare to write about forgiveness and grace and repentance?--it is a reminder that I was no better then, on a 'spiritual high', than I am now; hopefully now with less temptation to be hypocritical.
Or perhaps more accurately, simply more aware of the grace I need. That I don't stand on my own feet, but lean on the shoulder of a Friend.
1 Corinthians 10:12
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are