So am I. Now that I have your attention, let me soften the blow. (But just a little.)
By virtue of the fact that, as Christians, we are imperfect humans teaching our kids a perfect truth, our actions simply will never match our words. Our lives are, unfortunately, filled with hypocrisy.
There is a second definition used by some dictionaries which relates to intentional deception. For purposes of this discussion, we are talking about the first definition of hypocrisy – saying one thing and doing another, regardless of your (good) intentions.
We are all certainly at risk of becoming hypocrites on big things. Those are the things that get all the “air time” in sermons. But have you ever thought about all the mini-hypocrisies in our lives that undercut our ability to be the Christian role models we want to be?
Something I’m passionate about is that my kids are grateful for food and don’t waste it. I talk to them all the time about how some people don’t have food and how we need to thank God for the food we are blessed with by 1) saying prayers of thanks at meal time and 2) not wasting any. If there is a drop of milk left in a cup, Nathan and Kenna know to ask mommy to save it so we don’t waste any.
I bought a small watermelon a few weeks back. (I can’t believe I felt the need to point out it was small so this anecdote won’t make me look so bad. Guilty as charged.) I’m not sure why I bought it because I don’t particularly like watermelon and they are way too much work to cut up.
I put the watermelon in the bread drawer. For the first week, each time I opened the drawer I thought, “Oh! I better cut up that watermelon.” The next week it was more like, “Oh, there’s that watermelon.” And the third week it was more like, “Oh my gosh, that watermelon is still there. And rotting.” It was staring at me like an accusing oval symbol of hypocrisy. I finally threw it away while the kids were busy eating lunch. Or so I thought.
Kenna: “Mommy, what did you throw away?”
Me: “Oh, just some stuff.”
Totally caught. Totally hypocritical. (But totally a SMALL watermelon. So just a little hypocrisy, right?)
We need to accept the reality of day to day hypocrisy and have a game plan. Next time you recognize you are in the midst of a watermelon hypocrisy, consider using it as a teachable moment. If I had sat down with Kenna after her question, explained what happened and why that wasn’t what God would want, it would have been an opportunity for her to witness humility, honesty and a prayer asking for forgiveness for being wasteful.
I’m not going to go around throwing out watermelons to make that teachable moment happen, but frankly I don’t have to. There are plenty more mini-hypocrisies waiting for me.
Reflect on the last week. What mini-hypocrisies can you identify, and what teachable moments could you have made from them?
Be on the look out for mini-hypocrisies (they really do happen more than you think) and pick one to use as a teachable moment.