I was really good at lunch today. I had a salad. I even dipped my fork in the salad dressing for each bite, thus using half of what was provided.
Shouldn’t that make up for the fact that I had a large sundae for dessert? And I didn’t even mention the fact that I had a diet drink. That should count for something, shouldn’t it?
It all seems so contradictory in every way. I was one of those guys who used to make fun of girls in college who ate a piece of cake while drinking Tab. Do you remember Tab? And now, I find myself doing the same thing.
I have another habit that my wife finds humorous. I often get off the treadmill after a 40-minute session (three miles!), get cleaned up and immediately have a bowl of ice cream. Are you following a theme here? I do hope that ice cream is served in heaven. Other than scratch-made banana pudding, it is my favorite treat.
But we were talking about contradictions before I became distracted. It does seem strange to eat a salad and ice cream at the same meal. It does not make sense to have that cake with a diet drink. And yet we do that kind of thing all the time.
James, in his book near the end of the New Testament, spoke of the type of contradiction that he found terribly discouraging. Speaking about the tongue, James wrote, “With it we bless our Lord and father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
And James was absolutely correct. The fact is that we do say both good and bad things at different times. We go to church and offer praise to the Lord, but gossip and speak disrespectfully of others. As James said, “These things ought not to be so.”
The unfortunate thing is that this kind of hypocrisy often hinders our witness to others. They see and hear how we act and speak away from church, and they question validity of our faith. At the very least, they conclude that our faith doesn’t really matter.
May I appeal to you that your words and deeds at work, at home and in your neighborhood (and that does include at your son or daughter’s soccer game) ought to match what you say at church on Sunday? I know it’s not always easy. But it is always right. God has called us to give Him glory every day of the week.
I have to be honest with you. I’m still going to eat ice cream. But I have to be careful to use my words as a tool for good all the time. I invite you to join me. Let us praise and please the Lord with every word that we say.