Tuesday, January 25, 2011


'If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.'
-1 John 1:8

'It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.'
-Jesus of Nazareth

Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
While driving have you ever been passed by a vehicle going way faster than it should?
Did you think to yourself 'where is a cop when you need one!?!'
I know, I have...what's funny is that we all have this wicked sense of justice-an innate sense really. Ironically enough though, I know that while I've said it about others, I know the same could have and may have been said about me.

What about you? Perhaps you can relate or perhaps you're fortunate enough and don't find yourself speeding because you're behind schedule or it's an emergency...perhaps you merely roll through an intersection you know isn't busy-ignoring the stop sign, or maybe you don't let someone in the lane when you know you should-while at a stop light backed up in traffic.

Regardless of whether or not you're patient enough while driving or fortunate enough to be along for the ride, I think we can all agree that at one point or another we've done some things-the very things that we ourselves hate or find annoying about others. *Name something you can't stand and then ask yourself-do I do that?

What I want to focus on is that we all deceive ourselves...maybe not intentionally and maybe not on a daily basis, but we all claim or compare ourselves to someone else-even if we don't advertise it. As mentioned before I think we have an innate sense of justice, but it's more how Ian Percy said it: 'We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.'

I know it's not the first time I've used that quote, however, I think it's fitting. You and I have a tendency to compare ourselves to others around us and claim to be 'better' or not as bad as. As Christians...we should be better than that. When I think of scripture concerning this, I can't help but think about the parable about the Pharisee and Tax Collector going to the temple...I especially like the version found in The Message translation. Regardless of which translation you choose, the bottomline is the same, who is more righteous at the end of the day? You or them? You because you're being so humble about it as you compare notes or the other person whom you and I often don't know, but assume to know all too well because of their behavior-convienently forgetting our own behavior.

So why do I bring this up? Because you and I have bought into the Pharisee's game on a daily basis. We have played the game more than once and can't seem to give it up. As you and I go about our day, are we mindful of our actions and words? Do they line up or are we deceiving ourselves and the ones we love?

The word we search for here is hypocrite. If you and I continue to say one thing and do another we are lying to ourselves and the truth is not in us. As a Christian we are called to more-something better than playing a game that has been around since the beginning of man. We are called to love one another as we love ourselves-yet we continue to struggle with that. We try to wrap our heads around why everyone can't see things the way we do-as though it is so obvious.

The truth is, we can't know everything and there will always be different views and opinions. Just as cars pass in the other lane-regardless of speed, there will always be different ideas and views as to how things could be done or should be done. At the end of the day though, it isn't about who is more justified. It's about whether or not you and I are humble enough to swallow pride and truly listen-not just to God, but those around us. We shouldn't live as though we know it all...
Which brings me to this question: What is in your heart? I have heard that 'character' is defined by who you are when no one is looking. The problem is, Jesus is always there and we act as if He isn't. Truthfully, what comes from our mouth is what comes from our heart. Sure, that's not to say that certain things don't get us bent out of shape from time to time, but how we react to things that aren't in our control says a lot about us. Our need to control warps our preception of those around us and our expectations of them.

Interestingly enough, I think our need to control and feel justified is what 'defiles' us. Now, I'm not saying that I'm perfect or that I don't have issues-in fact, I'm saying the exact opposite...we ALL have issues we need to work through. Remember it is what comes from within-what we truly harbor on the inside that we usually speak from. Again, that's not to say we don't say things we don't mean, but if that's the case we found something else to work on...

My challenge for you is to really challenge yourself! Think long and hard about the things you do and the things you claim you dislike-but you yourself do too. You should no longer deceive yourself and honestly strive to become more humble-as Christ was. Your words and my words shouldn't be of judgement, but of openness and love. I know you and I have said something we wish we could take back, but what's done is done and can't be undone...it's time to forgive, grow, and let the healing begin.
Remember, as Mike Yaconelli once said: 'those who pretend, have pretend relationships'.

Enjoy this bonus video:

1 comment:

pitcher12k said...

Nice! I like this...find what you dislike, and see if you do it. Good challenge, have you read my recent post? I haven't looked for comments yet, but I'll see if you left one :)