Hollywood icon, Robert Redford was walking one day through a hotel lobby. A woman saw him and followed him to the elevator. “Are you the real Robert Redford?” she asked him with great excitement. As the doors of the elevator closed, he replied, “Only when I am alone!”
My dear friend, are you who you say you are? That pious, righteous, flawless, blemish-free, morally unshakeable person that everyone thinks you are.
That convivial, ever-cheerful, happy-go-lucky, life-and-soul-of-the-party that we all see you to be, That strong, resilient, silent, long-suffering, load-bearing, stiff-upper-lipped rock you have advertised yourself to be. Is that really you?
My favourite author of all time is Mark Twain. He once said. “We are all like the moon; we have a dark side we don’t want anyone to see.”
This is something I am beginning to discover more and more every day of my life. People hide their true selves from the world. Nobody is exempt from this. We all do it to varying extents.
Sometimes, we believe it’s for a good cause. When you let the world think your marriage is perfect, when you keep a jolly face to your employees even though you know you have to fire half of them, when you roll around in the garden with your grandchildren in spite of the pain your tumour is causing, you might think you are doing it for a good reason, but the truth is that nothing remains hidden under the sun.
If you tell a lie, you are a liar, which is bad enough, but what’s worse is if you tell lies while condemning the lies of others.
That makes you a hypocrite. And hypocrisy is always exposed in the end. You can’t set one standard for yourself and another for everyone else without ever getting caught in your own trap.
I get it though. I understand why we do it. Society sets a behavioural standard that pits us in a battle against our own nature. How can we refuse bribes when our salaries aren’t sufficient to feed our children?How can we love our enemies when they have sworn to destroy us? How can we practice fidelity when sex is so enjoyable… and so available? It seems we are required to battle our basic urges in order to meet morality’s impossibly high standards.
My friends, none of us is perfect, and doing the right thing is not easy. Even God understands this, which is why He forgives us our sins when we confess. But what He finds intolerable, is the person who refuses to accept their faults, let alone confess them. What the Lord can’t stand is a hypocrite. Here’s proof: I know we’ve probably just finished our quiet time, but let me read the Bible to you for a second, ok? It’s important.
Matthew Chapter 23, from Verse 26:
“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28“So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.…
Who we are when we are being observed is so different from who we are when we are alone. We have lived this double life for so long that the idea of revealing our true selves seems so scary, but who said you were supposed to be perfect? Who set that standard for you? Certainly not God.
All He asks is that you keep striving to do good, not to pretend that you ARE good. You will do a lot more to inspire good in others if you make the world see your struggle. People might consider righteousness a little more attainable if you stop letting them think you achieve it effortlessly, while they battle their demons daily.
But the number one reason why you should never even be motivated to be a hypocrite is because you will be exposed. This is a fact. A simple law of nature. You just can’t keep up the pretence forever.
Just one more trip into the Bible, ok? Have you read Luke Chapter 12?
“Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. 2 The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 3 Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”
My people, who are you? You are the person who comes out when nobody is watching. You are flawed and imperfect. And that’s ok. God loves you just as you are. There’s no need for you to whitewash your exterior. Show your bones, wai, na we all have them.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I am not perfect. Doing good is a daily struggle, so why pretend it’s easy?
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!