On Day 2 of the judgement section, we are told that the first step toward becoming less judgemental is to stop focusing on the speck in another person's eye while overlooking the plank in your own. (Matthew7:4-5) Translation: check yo'self before you wreck yo'self.
There were two statements made in tonight's reading that stuck out to me and made me think about how I am being hypocritical to both my children and my friends.
The first 'aha' moment came when Holladay writes, "Hypocrisy is saying to our kids, 'Do as I say and not as I do.'"
As simple and silly as it is, I felt a big lump in my throat (and maybe even my belly) because I have been getting onto Sammi so much for diving into the holiday candy stash without my permission. I keep most of the candy in a basket on top of the refrigerator but recently I got a couple of seasonal candy dishes from the dollar store and filled them with loose candies like M&M's and candy corn. Anyway, first thing in the morning, she will scurry down the stairs and climb up onto a barstool to have her fill. Countless times I have corrected her and reminded her of my candy rules: 1. No candy until after lunchtime. 2. Always ask Mommy before you take candy from the dish. When my stern reminders do not produce the desired response, I then resort to yelling or send her to time out--or even (gasp!) throw a piece of the candy in the trash. All of this would be fine and dandy if only I would adhere to my own candy rules. Today while the kids were at their Mother's Day Out program, I had a handful of candy before lunchtime. Sammi did not eat a very big supper, so she was refused a candy for an after dinner treat. I, on the other hand, treated myself to another handful of candy right in front of her while cleaning the dishes. As foolish as it all sounds, the truth in the matter is this. I should not punish my children for rules that I myself am not willing to follow. And since I truly do not want my 4 year old binging on candy right when she wakes up that means I will need to get to work pulling the plank out of my eye---er, my hand out of the candy jar.
The second 'aha' came after reading this: "Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them." (Romans 12:9)
I am so very grateful for my friends. I love each and every one of them. And that is the honest to goodness truth. But after reading this, I caught myself thinking "but I love them with my emotions, and not always with my actions" and this just doesn't sit well with me. Whenever my friends reveal that they have a problem, I am very speedy to say "if you need anything, let me know." But they never let me know, and therefore, I don't do anything for them. And then this kind gesture becomes a mask I hide behind, purely for show with no substance to back it up. I always thought of hypocrisy as saying one thing and doing another, but after reading this verse, I am starting to realize that hypocrisy is also saying one thing and doing nothing. It would be better to say nothing at all.
Or if I want to take the loving approach (as would be ideal in the 40 Days of Love challenge) instead of saying "if you need anything..." I can say "Tell me what you need and I will get it for you." Or I could anticipate those needs and act without being asked. Instead of saying, "I'm praying for you" I could say "Do you mind if I pray with you?"
So here I stand before you, confessing that I am a hypocrite, and pledging to change my ways. I solemnly vow that tomorrow, I shall not take anything from the candy dish until after I have eaten a hardy, healthy lunch. I also vow to not hide behind cliched statements of care/concern and that I will support these claims with bonafied, genuine loving actions.