Monday, September 23, 2013

Escaping Hypocrisy through the Gate of Grace (2 Peter 1:2-7)

Living out grace is not so easy. If I'm honest, I see myself operate by legalism and behavioral modification much too often. I do 'A' and hope that people respond 'B'. If 'B' doesn't happen, I see the ugly side of my heart start to rule my attitude and thought: attention seeking, neediness for approval, the fight for my "rights." It's scary to see what truly resides in my heart, but the Holy Spirit is faithful to continue shaping me in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:2-7). Thank goodness for God's free gift of love as I wrestle with how to apply the gospel of grace to my own heart and carry out the will of God.

Take for example my husband and I. Last night we discussed how to apply both grace and truth to a hypothetical situation. And we got into a fight. I would feel less foolish if it were a real situation. Nope. Just good ol' theory and opinion and self-righteousness. The discussion was based on a hypothetical situation, and we let it divide us for a short time.

It's so easy to want to be heard.
It's so easy to desire calculated responses from people.
It's so easy to demand that I be counted as relevant. (Meaning my husband responds the way I want.)

Ha! Doesn't that last one seem like an inalienable right. I should be affirmed for holding a valid opinion. How dare he! What I didn't mention is that I inwardly rolled my eyes at my husband's perspective and barely listened. I discounted his opinion even before it came out of his mouth because I wanted so much to be right in this made-up-not-real situation. I even confronted him about his "sin" as I fought to be right. I was void of love. But if I word it just right, you'll side with me, feel sorry for me, or start feeling that injustice is in play. I can craftily play the victim and try to get you on my side. I can demand grace without extending it myself and still get others to support me.

Oh the terrible web I wove to look better in my own eyes and in others'! Can you relate?

All it took for me to tuck my tail between my legs was church. I sang about God's free gift of love and His work through Jesus' death and resurrection. I sang about His goodness and melted into the pew, confessing my own sin. Over and over. Not for the sake of more forgiveness, but because even in confession I struggled with defending myself. Waves of grace kept washing over me as God led my heart toward humility. Once home my husband and I confessed our shortcomings and asked for forgiveness from one another.

We, those who love Jesus, have an important role to each other as church family: to remind one another of the gospel and God's wonderful self. Sometimes the best I can do is surrender in my great need for Christ and allow other believers to lead me by the proclamation of the good news of Jesus. And it impacts me anew. Through it my Savior reminds me of the abundant grace already supplied. He invites me to shed hypocrisy--which He hates because it denies His own work on my behalf.

Praise be to our faithful God. Praise be to our wonderful Savior. Praise be to the Holy Spirit who gets His hands dirty in so much ugliness so that something beautiful will result.

Image courtesy of Mateusz Stachowski /

(c) 2013 by Kendra Higgins

1 comment:

Paula said...

Been there, done that. It takes a great woman to admit when she is wrong. Love you