I loathe hypocrites.  I hate them so much I wish I could spit on them and tell them that they can’t love Jesus on one hand and say they hate Democrats on the other. These people raise their arms on Sunday and wish the Mormons would move to Canada.  They tsk, tsk their way to Monday by whispering that gay people are harmful, rotten folk.  It’s a black-and-white billboard that screams “Don’t believe me!  I’m a walking double standard!  My God is only as good and powerful and forgiving as I allow!”

It’s no wonder why so many people shun religion.

I’m just as bad. I might not hate Mormons or hold picket signs at abortion clinics, but I have my own brand of ugly.  I accept that Christ can wash clean a heart, but it’s so terribly hard for me to forgive.  I nod my head that we should love freely and give of self, and yet I’m as self-centered as they come. I see the world through my own eyes because they are mostly right.  I mean come on.  If I ruled the world, it would be a much better place.  No one would contradict me, we’d all agree mushrooms are icky, everyone would listen to folk music on Wednesdays, and coffee would always be served hot with two raw sugars.  Can I get a hell yeah?

I like to think of my own ideas as far superior to most like-minded people.  So what if my plan has actual deficiencies, or that another human being can actually make a point that is equal and as valid as my own.  If it differs from my own ideas, I pout and demand and bring up my version at every possible opportunity.  Like a tiny sword a millimeter long, it might not kill.  But it scratches and itches and penetrates a tiny bit of skin over and over until the victim just caves in from the torture.

I suppose I am also one of those billboards that must sound to God like nails on a chalkboard.  Please do it my way.  I have the answers.  Sweet people around me, you are so cute and lovable but quite simply wrong.  I need to control something to make my life feel important.  I don’t show this interior self to everyone. I like to think of myself as magnanimous and loving and accepting of differences.  And yet in the hole of my own little world I’m a selfish being who likes to direct outcomes.  I use a lot of “I” and not a lot of “us.”

You and me?  Well we are all in this together. 

We are all hypocrites.  Human beings are remarkably great at some things and so pitifully bad at others. And as it turns out we can’t label others with this title because we’d only be marking on ourselves.  My 6-year-old told me over breakfast today that we all have “the sin sickness” that came from Adam and Eve eating the apple.  It’s true, sweet girl. We all have the sickness that comes from sin, and to some extent we all say one thing and do something else so insanely off-course.

But it’s never too late.  We can always change direction, and apologize, and forgive. We can lay down our picket signs and realize that without mercy we are all just broken-down hypocrites, screaming loudly and yet saying nothing.  To witness, we must serve.  To praise, we must be quiet.  To change, we must break down our old selves and admit we are wrong.

We don’t need to control the world.  We submit it all to Him, and accept the outcome with grace and humility.  He is the master and orchestrator of all that is good.  We are just innocuous players, along for the ride with the top down, laughing at the billboards along the highway.

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2 Responses to Billboards

  1. lborange says:

    We passionately disagree on a few things here. But I share that idolatrous I-ness. So i think we can sit happily at the same table. Speaking of, next time we’re in a cafeteria together, if there are mushrooms in something, just move yours to my plate and I’ll make them disappear for you.

  2. Totally with you, Amanda. Except on the mushroom thing. 🙂

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