Heart Attitude Part 3
by Sylvia Van Peebles
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Scriptures: Romans 2:1, Matthew 23:1-5, 12-36, Romans 12:2, 1Samuel 18:18-15
hypocritical: pretending to be what one is not, as good or virtuous; simulating feeling one does not experience
How many times have we accused someone of being a hypocrite? We can become so indignant with this kind of person. Yet, this is the heart attitude we never think applies to us; it's always the other guy. It's the one that make us look in the mirror, and when we do, we're not very happy. Why? Because being a hypocrite is judging people for doing the same things we do ourselves. A hypocrite is a phony who puts on an act, but lacks a right heart attitude.
It has been said that we tend to look at ourselves through rose-colored glasses, while looking at others through magnifying glasses; this is very true. Often the sins we see so very clearly in others are the very ones that have taken root in us, so be very careful about feeling angry about someone else's sin. All of us, no matter who we are, or what we've done-good or bad-must depend totally on God's grace. So don't be quick to judge.
Here is a test of where your heart is: It's easy to collect food from friends, relatives and neighbors and go out periodically with your Sunday school class and give out the food to the homeless. What a great experience; doing the Lord's work! But how do you react when one Sunday, those same dirty, unwashed homeless people come and pay a visit to your church? What if they see you and wave? Do you smile and wave back, or do you pretend you don't know them, sink in your seat and try your best to disappear?
You see, Jesus did not condemn what the Pharisees taught so much as what they were- hypocrites. They took man-made laws as seriously as God's laws and told the people to obey these laws but did not do so themselves. Or, they obeyed the laws, not to honor God, but to make themselves look good. Pharisees were ceremonially clean, yet their hearts were corrupt.
Being a Christian merely as a show for others is like washing a cup on the inside only. It is possible to be obedient in the details, but still disobedient in our general behavior. For example: The NIV Commentary states that we can be very precise and faithful about giving 10 percent of our money to God, but refuse to give even one minute of our time in helping others. While tithing is important, giving a tithe does not exempt us from fulfilling God's other directives.
It is vitally important that a leader not have this wrong heart attitude. Or, if he or she sees it rearing it's ugly head, cut it off immediately. People follow what you do. We as a country are always pointing our finger at other countries and shaking our heads at their immorality, corruption in government and mistreatment of their citizens. But all we have to do is check the headlines in our newspapers to see our own hypocrisy. Check your reflection in the mirror--often.
Despising, Hating Heart
Scriptures: 1Kings 21:20, Matthew 5:8, Proverbs 4:23, Esther 5:9
despising: to scorn; regarding as unworthy, sometimes with malice (evil, intent to harm another)
hating: to dislike or detest, often with enmity(ill-will, mutual hatred) or malice; strong emotional aversion; abhor (to shrink from with horror)
No matter how we may deny it, our heart condition will eventually show what we are really about. Are your heart attitudes merely a carbon copy of what you see in the world? How can you tell what condition you're heart is in? Examine how you talk. What are your words? The Bible tells us that whatever is in our hearts is going to come out of our mouths. In other words, you can only hide your true feelings if you keep your mouth shut. The minute you start talking, your heart attitude is going to convict you.
Hatred is not something that you come out of the womb feeling. Look at the pictures of those babies. All different, yet at peace with one another. As the song says, "You have to be carefully taught..." to hate another 'just because'. Jesus teaches that if we hate another person, we are the same as a murderer in our heart. That's a pretty strong indicator of just how destructive hate is.
The cartoon with the chickens is very interesting, because the one chicken makes the other take a look at himself and the reason behind his hate. As I said before, be careful what you hate about others because it could be a reflection of what you hate about yourself. Examine yourself, see what's going on inside of you . If you're truthful, you might be surprised to discover who it is you really hate. When you start seeing yourself as unworthy, you will tend to see others in that light also.
You cannot change other people, you can only change yourself. But isn't that really the goal? Hate not only destroys the object of the hate, but the hater as well. If you don't believe me, take inventory of your life. How is your health? Your job? Your marriage? Your finances? Afterwards ask yourself if your hate has been worth it. Be honest in your assessment. If you find that hate has left you lacking, remember, it's never too late to change directions.
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