How I Feel About Hypocrisy

dark sky, light sky On Tuesday I loved spring but then on Wednesday it actually came, and we almost broke up.

My morning run was pushed back in hopes of a break in the rain or even a tiny turning-down of the faucet.  By 8:45 I realized it was not happening, that this rain was the Oregon kind and I just needed to put on my flippers and new "water repellent" jacket and go.

I plugged my nose and jumped off the front porch, just for dramatic effect.

On Wednesday all the things I'd said Tuesday came back with teeth, as if to bite:

Do you really love this time of year?

You talk a lot of flowery nonsense but how do you feel about all this now?

And how's that fancy new jacket working for you?

This is my normal modus operandi, to always question myself and accuse and check for hypocrisy, the ugliest of all character traits.

On Tuesday I waxed poetic about all I love about spring and how even the rain is a blessing. Tuesday it was beautiful and sunny and everything was right with the world and Wednesday, it was Oregon.

Big Time.

And I am realizing that not everything that looks and sounds like hypocrisy really is.

Sometimes, don't we just say the things we want to be true, the things that we know are good and right but hard to work into real life?

Is it hypocrisy to say whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger?

Because in the middle of those things that feel like they're killing me, what do I say?

In the middle of the torrential rain (which didn't kill me, by the way) am I thankful for spring?

And who really cares about rain but in the middle of the argument when I quote scripture and encourage love and talk all motherly and authoritative...am I being a hypocrite?

Are all those platitudes bearing plastic fruit in my life?

When I lecture and pontificate about godly communication and then run to my bedroom for solitude, am I taking the chicken's way out?

I think fruit comes through digging and toil and sun and rain, and the constant checking of myself can be just that. Cultivating.

It can also be condemnation, and to that I say enough. Enough introspection, enough preoccupation with self, enough heavy-burdened law keeping.

I conclude that saying what I know is true and then doing what I know is wrong is not always hypocrisy. 

And that's kind of scary to say but those are the only words I have for it right now.

Sometimes I just do what I know I shouldn't. I still know what is right to do, and I still can tell you and mostly my children what the right thing to do is, but I just don't always do the right thing.

That's not very profound.

It's called struggle. Paul had it. I have it. You probably have it, too.

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. {Rom 7:24 -8:1 NKJV} 

So yes, I still love spring. My fancy new jacket is not-so-water-repellent but rather more sponge-like and that's ok, because it's blue and it was on sale and I like it. And I like the irony of a jacket labeled "water-repellent" when it really isn't, right after I said that I'm good with rain when I'm really not.

And yes, I will probably tell my kids to do things or not do things that I myself have not yet mastered, and I might spout some great advice here that is hard for me to take sometimes. That makes me human, not hypocritical. 

It also lends itself to grace, and that's something I try to excel at.

 

Linking up with Imperfect Prose and #TellHisStory

When Light Comes

light

There are old men who prophecy about Light spreading out from a mountain-top village with spotty electricity and no plumbing.

They are weathered but not weary. The Light is in their eyes and in their foreign voices you can hear hope, audible  hope. These are men made wiser by time, men who've seen and felt destruction and tribal tension, men who've witnessed their own brand of ethnic cleansing at the hands of those who feel superior.

And when we enter their village, the first white people to set shaky feet there, they look at us like we are light and hope.

Or at least carriers.

They tell us of the prophecy and how the church and our coming, how it all must fit. We've come with one of their own, a dear brother of ours and a son of their village, a spearhead and pioneer in this Light-bearing.

They have long endurance. Hope sustains old souls who wait for Light. 

The ends of the earth can be the most beautiful and filthy and hungry and full.

Full of that blessed assurance that we in the west work so hard for. Hungry for the spiritual things we stuff ourselves with and for the extras that we toss aside.

Beautiful for the people and not the stuff.  Filthy with the sweat and soil of agrarian work and with sin that needed no western introduction.

When the first missionary came bringing Light to the valley below them, he and his wife were unwelcomed. But they were persistent with their gift and some listened, some became disciples and spread Good News. It reached the top of the mountain, it changed their way of life, it turned them from head-hunters to soul-hunters and they took their lanterns and hunted over the border.

From the highest point in the village you can see Burma. Jungles, miles of trails, uncounted thousands living in darkness and wholly forgotten by most.

But the coming of Light brings heat and burning hearts and feet beautiful with the Good News. So it spreads. The hope of old men and the Light of their eyes burns darkened jungles.

If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. - {Isa 58:10 NKJV}

 

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect ProseTell Your Story, and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays

 

 

 

 

 

When You're a Stranger in a Strange Land

river, sunset, lake, horizon, hope in the Lord My words are caught in the back of my throat because there's not really much more that needs to be said, so I try to stop them. What I really want is to just cry in the middle of their town, to just sit there and hold weeping mothers and scared children.

I want them to know that this grieves You.

Sometimes all the answers I have are inadequate. I am frustrated, because times like this seem like fuel for unbelief and all Your mockers gather to point and they think tragedy is one more disproof, one more reason not to see You.

We all want answers and reasons and 3 steps to prevent it, but Lord, this world is evil. Lord, this fall of man has been such a long descent. We want you to come now.

There are no disillusions left in me of making a heaven on earth, Lord. I get it. This strange place is not home, this is not happy-ever-after and your-best-life-now. And You know how the cynic in me struggles, how anger and exasperation have to be pushed down. But use this in me, Lord, to remind me of Home.

Lord, I pray You'd keep me broken and soft and protect me, protect us all, from a depressed love. When there is no answer and no solution, let us love the ones we're with. Let us love them more because hate has increased in this world and the only way to defeat it is to love it out. Even though I want to lock up every suspicious character, or stay locked up in my own suspicious character. Help me to love.

Forgive me for complaining about wet beds and long lessons. Thank You for every mundane and frustrating task, for a noisy house and overflowing laundry. Thank You for giving hope and for loving the children.

I leave justice to You, Lord. I join with thousands, with millions through the ages, who remind You with loud voices and quiet tears to bring it. Bring justice. Bring peace on earth. Bring the Right to all our wrongs. We are messed up and messing up and all this world is ready for judgement. Thank You, Jesus, for being my righteousness.

He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. - {Psa 9:8-9 NKJV}