I have been having discussions that are centered in the way we as Christians ought to be, and the way persons in my community speak about how often they are seeing Christians (pastors/leaders/lay persons) acting out this faith walk in a duplicitous manner.
In reflecting, I came in having to confront my own often duplicitous attitudes in how I respond relationally to others and how my own need is in relying on the Spirit to transform me, is of vital importance to my spiritual growth and maturity as a women of Faith who professes to follow Christ.
“No person can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.” Luke 16:13
When Jesus stated this the Pharisees (known as false religious leaders of the early gospel days) derided Him.
Jesus responded with: “You are they which ‘justify yourselves’ before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16: 15
One of the sad facts that is present in the life of today’s religious leaders and in many lay persons lives, is when meeting persons who in outward appearances have hearts seemingly centered towards Godliness, seemingly walking in love, but then discovering the duplicity in them.
It is evident when persons go out of their way in being encouraging, supportive, loving, and prayerful with certain select persons, while being intentional in ignoring, being harshly dismissive in having a critical, unloving manner towards others.
When I hear from persons’ in my own community how they are and have been treated by today’s Pharisees (religious pastors/leaders/lay persons), God speaks to my heart to not hold within me any bitter or hardened attitude towards these persons for it is obvious they are being deceived and know not what they are doing. Duplicity often deeply harms and damages people, causing intense suffering, often leaving these persons dealing with agonizing conflicted emotions.
If these issues of duplicity cannot be addressed (by going to the person and bringing to their attention the issues – Mathew 18) by the persons being affected and harmed due to the way they are often being mistreated in callous manners, then it is really best to leave the place where they are trying to fellowship, study, worship and be encouraged in their faith life, as they will be stuck in an emotional roller coaster.
Mark 6:11 “And whoever shall not receive you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.“ Christ goes on to state that Sodom and Gomar will fare better in the kingdom than those who do not accept truth when spoken to them.
Persons who are not received in any ‘group’ will believe, their prayers and love will be an active change agent in having these persons changed in attitudes towards them.
I have found, when persons do not respond when issues are raised concerning ungodly attitudes, behaviors, treatment, in having any change, then they most likely will not do so if the offended persons remain in their ‘group’, ‘church’ or ‘fellowship’ as their hearts are hardened towards receiving any of this truth.
No one has attained to any state of perfection and I for one can stand in that place, knowing I have a long ways to go in learning this walk in faith and that my response needs to be one of internally remaining loving. I must be aware of my own tendencies in being one way with certain persons and another way with others, and guard against these self ways of relating.
I must take care to guard my own heart when I am hearing these sad and sometimes devastating personal testimonies that I do not harbor any bitterness or resentment towards persons who are often responding and acting from their flesh, justifying, defending and explaining away duplicitous behavior either on their part of on the part of those they are in a position of leadership over.
The deepest hurts and wounds that can occur in our hearts often come from those who profess Christ, but in their hearts, roots of these ungodly habits rise, surfacing, and they do not work towards trying to resolve the conflicts or issues brought to their attention.
The above scriptures refers to these behaviors as serving two masters; flesh (the worlds’ way of responding and being) vs Christ (choosing to respond in love with All persons).
I must be active and intentional in pausing before responding as I can often feel my own flesh or self rising trying to manifest this-worldly way of responding when I am interacting with other persons. My need to understand and realize the Spirit in me who causes me to be cautious in not only how I respond, but that my response be sincerely motivated in and by love.
So, Spirit of God, search my heart to see if there is any bitter, hardened, stubborn attitude in me and I ask you to shine the light of Christ in those areas, revealing to me the truth of my own duplicitous attitudes, and be the change I need to walk in love as scriptures dictate and as Christ says is the greatest of all His commandments.
I must come before the Spirit of my Father each day in purposeful repentance in my need to allow His Fullness to be who is manifested in and through me in each moment I walk this faith life.
I must remain humble, realizing I have no power or ability of my own to be the love Christ calls me to.
I have no methods or self designs in me and I cannot justify, excuse away, or defend anything another brings to my attention where I have unintentionally or intentionally acted out of my own flesh.
My response needs to be sincerely apologetic, so that the Spirit can restore fellowship and healing from any harm that I have done or inflicted onto anther. (This applies to leaders to do so on the part of anyone in their ‘group’ who has harmed others.)
For it is the Love from my Father God that brought me to my knees as I came before Him a repentant sinner as a teenager, asking for His forgiveness, asking if Christ was real, to show Himself to me. The next moments I was filled beyond my own imagination with the fullness of the presence of Christ and His love touched my entire soul and how my life was changed from that moment going forward.
Then the tough part of walking out this faith, submitting to my God to be the change agent in me, and to realize my part is to surrender in an absolute sincerity, asking for His filling to be in me moment by moment, day by day, hour by hour.
I also must realize in my humanness, I can be in error at times and need to intimately understand my own need to remain open, willing to listen, willing to be the change needed in my part of the world by allowing Christ’s Spirit to be deeply infused into my entire being, in not responding from my own flesh.
My part is to be open when my flesh rises and allow the Spirit to take out any roots of wrong attitudes so I can be His genuine love towards All people.
It is this same love that touches the hearts of men, women and children as we go about our days attentive to the Spirit, lending ourselves to Him, and heeding His voice in being true to my word and true to my Father God in walking in honorable authenticity in who I am becoming in and through His ability.
This is how I must guard my heart, to be self disciplined, to set a standard within the attitudes in my own heart in being authentic, behind closed doors, and in public in the utter helpless realization of how great my own need is to rely, depending on the Spirit’s ability to be all of whom my Father has called me to be, a women of the highest integrity, being the love that my God requires from me.
Prayerful Response: In those places hidden before people, are my thoughts and reflections towards others of a loving nature, am I choosing the Christ way of being in those areas no one sees?
In each response, with every attitude, in all my behaviors, am I choosing the Christ way of being?
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister
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Although I may think I can be duplicitous before persons, I am keenly aware my Father God sees all and knows all of what I have hidden in those secret places of my heart.
My Father is more than aware how I treat everyone and He remains loving towards me in it all, being a consistent voice, drawing me nearer to His unity, nearer to His love.
My responsibility is to be submissive in giving up as much as I am aware of in my own way of responding, in all areas, to the Christ Spirit who is “able to do exceedingly abundantly, above all that I either ask or imagine according to the Power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20
Not my Will O Lord do I desire, but Spirit of God, help me to do Your Will above all that I desire, in choosing the Christ way of being, with all persons.