My eleven year old granddaughter will often tell me that I am a hypocrite. It is her way of saying that I might have said or done something that was contrary to what I had said or done before. An example might be when she has seen me get angry and say something inappropriate … she will repeat what I have told her on numerous occasions … “anyone who gets you mad … controls you.”
She is often right … I am a hypocrite and for me to write this is hypocritical because I am certain that I know what GOD is asking of me and the rest of humanity and yet I constantly fail to do what I know to be the will of GOD.
For me, the life and teachings of Jesus are clear and precise as to what GOD wants from me. It starts with the Greatest Commandment. Love GOD with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. And then … go into the world and love your neighbor as yourself. All the other laws and rules are built in this foundation.
How can I deal with all the other rules … the Ten Commandments … or other things that Jesus tells me to do if I do not have the basic foundation in place? I can’t.
And here is why I am the biggest hypocrite of all … more so than most anyone I know. I am very clear about what the life and teachings of Jesus tells me to do and what GOD wants from me.
I will start with the most repeated admonition of Jesus in the Bible … “Do not be afraid”. My fears are a direct slap in the face of the Greatest Commandment. It says that I do not love GOD enough to respect HIS creation … I do not trust GOD. Jesus says, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself”. To worry is to fear. I often worry about my family … my wife, my children … my grandchildren. I worry about money and being able to pay for my old age. I worry about my freedom and the future of the country I live in. I worry about the outcome of a Carolina basketball game. How ridiculous is that?
It is hard to misinterpret … “do not be afraid”. Do not be afraid of people who threaten the safety of my family. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Anyone who loves his father and mother more than me, anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39).
Why then am I afraid of terrorist? Why am I afraid of immigrants from Syria? Why do I even own a gun? Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who ask you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5: 39-42).What is hard to understand about this?
If I were able to get the basics right … the part about loving GOD … appreciating GOD and all that GOD has created … if I were able to be in absolute awe of GOD and the reality that GOD is beyond my capacity to understand or conceive of HIS love and grace … maybe then … I could begin to judge the flaws in the other humans that GOD created. BUT … Jesus says, “do not judge, or you too will be judged. Why do I see the faults of others when I cannot see the the same or worse faults in myself? I am a hypocrite … my granddaughter is absolutely right.
My fear comes from my lack of faith in a GOD who has all the answers and even knows all the questions before I can ask them. I have become calloused in my heart … in my soul and in my mind. I have lived to this point in my life where I have justified too many of my actions that were in direct conflict with what I know is the will of GOD. I have failed to recognize the omnipotence of GOD and to love all that GOD has created … most especially … my fellow man.
The message from GOD is this … I created you and all other humans and all of creation … I love you and all that I have created more than you have the capacity to understand … I can do whatever I choose … I choose to love you in spite of all your failures … that is MY gift … MY grace.
When I am able to find and accept the love and grace of GOD … I will find GOD. When I find GOD, I will not be afraid of the world. Instead, I will be humble, I will be compassionate, I will be tolerant … I will sell everything and follow the will of GOD.
BUT … even if I do not choose to find and accept the love and grace of GOD … GOD will get HIS way … GOD will find me and love me anyway.
I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation many times during my life time. The message has been the same … Love GOD with all my heart … all my soul … and with all my mind. Love and appreciate all that GOD has created. Love my fellow man.
I am a hypocrite … I know it. I would like to be less of a hypocrite … not because of my granddaughter but because I would like to feel humble, I would like to be more compassionate, I would like to be tolerant, I would like to be less judgmental, I would like to have no fear. I would love to be engulfed and overwhelmed by the purity of GOD’s love and grace. And the beauty and the assurance is …that one day … I will be in those warm and loving arms of GOD. How great THOU art.