[forthright] Are We One Person or Two?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2007 14:55:56 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: Square One

Are We One Person or Two?
by Richard Mansel

In 1939, James Thurber brought the world Walter
Mitty, a mousy, aging man who imagines himself a
gritty adventurer. Cervantes' character, Don
Quixote, fancies himself a hero storming the
countryside slaying dragons and rescuing beautiful
women. These men mired in drab lives discovered
excitement and intrigue through fantasy.
Ultimately, their fantastic sides became their
legacies.

Christians can be guilty of this, also. They can
appear to live staid, conservative lives as
disciples of Christ. Yet, they may ultimately find
the life boring and unfulfilling. They create a
fantasy life so they can feel alive. In their
relations with the opposite sex, their words are
respectful while their fantasies are obscene. When
they talk to members of another race, their words
are kind while their thoughts are racist. Talking
to brethren, they are conciliatory while their
thoughts are combative and cruel.

They are two widely divergent people. One appears
to be a gentle, Christian while the other is
hostile. Moreover, they do so intentionally.

A Christian stands and leads singing or serves on
the Lord's Table in his suit and smile. He carries
his Bible close to his heart and greets everyone
as his spiritual family. Then, upon leaving,
cranks up his music filled with anger, obscenity,
and hate, dons his scowl and heads off into the
world. His language is raunchy at work and he
visits his mistress and her liquor cabinet on
Saturday night before repeating the same Sunday
ritual.

A young single Christian woman wears a
conservative outfit on Sunday morning and receives
admiring looks from the other sisters in the
church. She affirms her commitment before the
other young Christian women to remain pure until
marriage. On Monday, she heads to school in a
small percentage of the clothing she wore on
Sunday and after school whisks her boyfriend into
her room before her parents return home from work.

A multitude of examples abound. The sad duplicity
of many Christians sickens God. He says we must
not try to be hot and cold, at the same time, or
he will vomit us from his mouth (Revelation 3:15).
A "double-minded man is unstable in all his ways"
(James 1:8, NKJV).

All Christians sin and will live contrary to what
they profess in some areas (1 John 1:10). Sadly,
God's people often fail to live up to what God
desires. Yet, they do not fall into the category
of hypocrisy. We must not confuse the two as
happens in the minds of those with guilty
consciences looking for justifications to
persevere in sin. A weak person is not a hypocrite
because hypocrisy is not accidental, but
intentional.

People hold preachers to such a high standard that
if they ever violate what they preach, they are
liars and unworthy to preach God's word. However,
preachers are not magically immune from sin
because they condemn it.

A man cannot be two people. He must be consistent
to the core, as best that he can. A house divided
cannot stand (Matthew 12:25). We cannot serve two
masters or we will fail both (Luke 16:13). God
requires commitment in our lives (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus clearly says that we must never be ashamed
of him and his word. We must stand for him daily
and be faithful and committed. Our mission extends
to every aspect and moment of our lives (Mark
8:34-38). We will be judged by our words and
thoughts (1 Corinthians 3:20; Acts 8:22).
Moreover, God sees and hears everything, so he
cannot be fooled (Galatians 6:7). In addition, the
world notices. When we live duplicitous lives we
will be known by our deception. People will not be
fooled forever.

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