Monday, January 24, 2011

P4E.199 People Pleaser

It's been my nature to want to look good in front of other people. To keep up a facade. To mask my real nature with a superficial veneer of goodness. I especially employ this tactic at church gatherings. Sunday mornings. Wednesday night men's Bible study. Couples group. Do you know what I mean?

In some ways the local church atmosphere and expectation fosters this hypocrisy in us men. I do not really want to acknowledge that Christ's ways are not being followed at home and therefore, things are not going well there. So, underneath the surface of calm and peace that one would expect to see in a Christlike man, turmoil churns and wreckage is hidden. What churches promote is that, no matter what the circumstances, if I place all of my trust in God I will experience order, consistency, calm and peace in my life. But, if I'm the poor sod who doesn't experience that peace, then by default I must not be trusting God enough. So what happens is that I end up putting the cart before the horse. I say to myself, "If I portray a calm and peaceful exterior, one that suggests that I am a man of God, then other people will think I am and therefore, I WILL BE!"

Unhappily, my wife and children know the real me. The one they've lived with day in and day out. The one who is "semi-Christlike." At home I am selfish, impatient, temperamental, inconsistent, harsh, opinionated, angry, and unfaithful in my heart. But, when I am in public I cannot let out that this is going on. So, I put on a mask that let's others think that all is well with me and my family. This is hypocrisy of the first order. The Whitewashed Tomb Syndrome.

People used to come up to my wife and say, "Kim is such a nice guy, so calm, I can't imagine him every losing his temper." My gracious wife would reply, "You know, I thought the same thing when I first met him."

It's easy enough to judge Big Government or Mega Corporations or Televangelists for their hypocrisy. But, the challenge is that whatever and however I am judging, it may be that I'm calling others out for the very things I myself am guilty of.

The thing is that God is light and in Him there is no darkness. Scripture says, "But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light...Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise." God's light penetrates right through the veil I have over my life. It blasts off the mask. It exposes the dark tomb that I've whitewashed.

Yes, I place partial responsibility on the churches out there for fostering an atmosphere that does not encourage its people to be real. But, ultimately, I know that I cannot pin my hopes for a good relationship with God on my church status. Scripture also encourages, "And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them." I believe that I'm to start with myself by being real, by "confessing our sins one to another." I have to start by acknowledging that I'm not where I should be in relation to God or my family or my other relationships. If I'm hiding, covering up, smoothing over, then I know I'm in trouble. The question is, "Who do I think I'm fooling when I behave in this way?" Certainly NOT HIM! Not the all-knowing, all-seeing GOD!

I know that God's ways work, if I will just use them. I CAN ACTUALLY BE the Godly man I want to portray to others. I CAN be consistent in my private personal and my public life. God help me to be!

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