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Posts Tagged ‘hypocrisy’

This one is right up there with “be holy!” Peter does not mince words. At least in a couple of other translations, rid yourself of such and such is written as “lay aside” or “be done with,” but in any case, this one is on me.


I Peter 2:1-2a
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk . . .

Like any plan to change, it’s important to understand the malady. Drunks can’t stop drinking until they know it’s a problem and so forth. I have to look with honesty, are these corrupting attributes part of my life?

Malice is pretty harsh stuff: a spiteful, intentional desire to do someone harm. The gentrified version of this would be deliberate “payback.” Another version of malice might be keeping a simple list of wrongdoings and justifying some other action because of that list. He owes me, as it were. So, I don’t hate anyone and I’m not by nature one who seeks to do harm, but I have kept a few lists hidden in my heart.

Holy Spirit, I give you permission to clean out those lists: reboot my system.

Deceit is a little less malicious but more roundabout in its application. It’s a lie, even a white lie, told on purpose to misrepresent a situation. It can be an exaggeration or a minimization. In any case, it’s a type of hiding. I justify this behavior by saying the truth will just cause more trouble. My kids have pretty much given me the same lame excuse. This needs to stop.

Holy Spirit, I give you permission to open the vault of my subterfuges. Just, please, don’t let ’em out all at once.

Hypocrisy is a form of acting. I really don’t want to admit publicly that I’m a hypocrite, who does? But I am a good actress and that ability crosses over into daily life, I know it does, without even thinking about it. I want people to like me. But I have made this mistake in relationships too often, trying to be someone I am not because I don’t want to rock the boat.

Holy Spirit, keep me authentic through transparency of heart.

Envy is rooted in American culture and we need some intense weeding here. It came to us under the guise of the American Dream but instead has fueled advertising into making us all want what we do not have. Discontentment with what is has become the norm as though it’s the foundation to ambition. I’ve gotten sucked in more than once: it’s the basic reason for my debt.

Holy Spirit, teach me to be content without sacrificing excellence.

Slander is my worst enemy and my best friend. It’s just a stronger word for gossip. It’s those times I put down someone else to make myself feel better. It’s those times I complain about someone else to gather a personal posse to be on my side. It’s those things I’ve said about other people that would be devastating if they were standing behind me. Oh yeah.

Holy Spirit, hold my tongue, keep me mindful of my words.

Peter says the solution to all of this is craving [thirsting, desiring eagerly] the pure “milk of the Holy Spirit.” This picture is the child at a women’s breast, where only the one can satisfy, with no intermediaries.

Do I crave the presence and intervention of the Holy Spirit? Do I crave the Christ, appropriating daily what was given to me by the sacrifice of the God-Man? Do I eat fruit instead of ice cream?

I am still free to choose.

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Acts 2:37b-38
“Brothers, what shall we do?” [the crowd] Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…”

Repent. It’s become such an inaccessible word over the years. It’s like a joke. How many times have we seen caricatures of “preachers” holding up a bible and shaking it over the crowd: “Repent you sinners!” Who can even hear the real message anymore?

And yet, it’s exactly “repent” that is the core to change. Repent is not just a religious term, it’s a personal experience. It’s a choice. Change… for good or evil… cannot happen without choice.

Personally, I find myself bemoaning over the same sins every day: gossip and judging others (to name two of the most popular). Both are extraordinarily nasty sins and I am ashamed to confess them. But the point here is that shedding these sins is not just about confession and the receiving of forgiveness… there is a point where I must “stop” and do something else instead.

Once, in counseling session some years ago, I was crying over these and other “besetting” sins (as though they have a mind and life of their own) and how I struggled with them. In the end, the revelation was simple: “I didn’t want it badly enough” … I didn’t want to change enough. I didn’t want to stop enough. The benefits of continuing were still outweighing the unknown of stopping. Who would I be if I stop this behavior? Who would I be if I change?

So often, people (including me) are more comfortable with our current state because it’s a “known.” But to change or “repent” means we are moving into an unknown territory. We are pioneering into a future we cannot predict. Fear, doubt, insecurities, anxiety also jump into the fray.

I am a bit of a hypocrite. I say I like change, but really, I mean change around me… I can adapt to that kind of change. But, I’m different when it comes to my own behaviors. Those changes are much easier to avoid.

So, today, one challenge: stop and turn away from gossip. If what I say cannot be said with the person standing there beside me, it shouldn’t be said. End of story.

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