I don’t often re-blog but when I sat down this afternoon to start writing about hypocrisy, I was reminded of an email that a good friend of mine sent me this week. She included an excellent article from Matt West’s website, where he wrote about duplicity.
The article is well written and it causes me to do some soul-searching. He really hits the nail on the head when he concludes with this question – “If all of my worlds collided today, would there be any conflicting reports about the person I am?”
Hypocrisy is duplicity – saying one thing and living another. I couldn’t express this any better so here’s Matt West’s words – enjoy and be challenged.
Is there duplicity in your life? Are there any areas of your life that don’t entirely line up with what you confess with your lips that you believe? If we are being honest, I’m sure we wouldn’t need to look very far to find a certain habit, activity, personality trait, or temperament that contradicts who we say we are or who we want to the world to think we are. Now there is a difference between imperfection and duplicity. We all struggle. Everyday we fall down, we stumble. We might gossip about an acquaintance at work, or stub a toe and accidentally expand our vocabulary to a word that we wouldn’t want mother to hear. (Am I the only one? Ha!) We might lash out in anger in the heat of an argument with a spouse. God knows we are not perfect. He’s the only one who is. That is why the Bible tells us his strength is perfect in our weakness. But duplicity is a different level of danger that we can find ourselves in if we are not careful or if we unwilling to take a good look at how we are living.
A person who is living with duplicity is one who has developed the ability to essentially become two different people, a chameleon of sorts, able to successfully navigate a double life. When you’re at church or hanging out with Christian friends, you know all the right things to say and the right way to act to fit in perfectly with the crowd that you call home. And it’s not inauthentic. You want to be that person. You want that to be your true and only identity. But then, when you’re around a different group of people, a different kind of crowd, you somehow possess the ability to speak a second language with your words and actions, your colors change in order to blend in to your new surroundings. The bright colors of your faith can dim to a dingy gray if need be, and you fit in, you don’t stand out. You fit in.
Have you ever found yourself in shock and disbelief upon the news of a prominent pastor, or religious leader, or even someone at your church who was caught in a sin, and a secret lifestyle they had been hiding was revealed?
A few years ago, several miners were trapped under the earth when a mine collapsed. Their rescue attempt captured news headlines. Miraculously, the men survived, only one man upon his arrival up to the surface was most likely wishing he could go back down into the mine. Both his wife AND his girlfriend showed up at the rescue spot to greet him and welcome him home! Duplicity.
I’m writing about this today because that scripture I read this morning convicted me personally. See, I notice a tendency within me. We are all susceptible to a dive into duplicity. A leaning towards the desire to fit in in any circle we am a part of. I’ve always felt an intense desire to be liked by people, to be accepted. In high school I was never content being friends with just one group of people. So I developed the skill of knowing how to hang with the choir kids and talk music, and then when I was in the locker room, I was the jock of all jocks. I was all about sports. When I was around Christian friends, it was “God bless,” and “you’ve been on my heart.” When I was with my unsaved friends, I was laughing at the dirty joke or going to the party I had no business being at. Duplicity.
In the moment, Satan can make duplicity seem like the math of multiplication. He can make you believe that it is possible and even more fulfilling to be two people at once. “You can keep your marriage and have a girlfriend,” the devil might whisper. “Your drinking problem is not a problem.” “By being like your unsaved friends, you’re a actually witnessing to them.” These are the deceitful lies of duplicity. It does not multiply. It divides. A double life is not “more” of a life. It is crippling life, it is debilitating. It is exhausting. It is inauthentic.
I was recently asked by my pastor to sing at the funeral service of one of his friends in the church. The funeral home was packed, and many, many individuals each took turns standing to speak about their dad, friend, co-worker, Charles. Then, one man took to the podium for a few last words. His words were something I hope can be said about me when I am gone. “Today, we’ve heard many stories and re-lived memories of our beloved friend,” he started. “But what I find most inspiring about everyone’s stories is that we all knew the same Charles. There are no conflicting reports here about the kind of man he was or the life he lived. We all knew the same man.”
What a legacy to leave! Isn’t that what you would want to be said of you? Today, I challenge you to do what I am about to do when I finish writing this, ask yourself this question, “If all of my worlds collided today, would there be any conflicting reports about the person I am? Would I feel like that coal miner being confronted by his double life with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach wishing I could crawl in a hole somewhere, or would I be like Charles, with everyone in agreement that they know the same me?” Let us always be on the lookout for the duplicity in our lives or even the sin that leads to duplicity. For starters, we can pray as David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart… See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24.)” If the desire of our hearts is to be rid of any double standards or lifestyle contradictions, then lets daily be aggressive in weeding out any areas that don’t line up with who we know God has called us to be.
The integrity if the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their DUPLICITY (Proverbs 11:3)