Stop pretending: Part 2 - Hope 103.2

Stop pretending: Part 2

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsSaturday 12 Apr 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Yesterday I introduced the theme of how people pretend that everything’s fine when often it’s not. You ask someone “how are you?”,and chances are they will say “fine”. But for many,that’s not true at all. People are hurting,but are ashamed to say so. And I think that is a great tragedy. I said yesterday that Psalm 51:6 says “You want complete honesty” spoken by David who had his share of covering up mistakes and events in his life of which he was ashamed.

There is another interesting story we find in Genesis 27 of 2 people,Isaac and Rebekah,two ordinary people. Isaac is a fairly weak type of man while Rebekah is domineering. Not surprising,yet it’s wonderful to see how God’s plan was still fulfilled through a dysfunctional family. Isaac was an old man and he seemed to sense death was not far off and he was determined to pass on the blessing of God to his oldest son Esau – his favourite son. But God had made it plain the blessing was for Jacob,the 2nd son.. His wife (Rebecca) would not have approved of Isaac’s secret plan,especially as she knew he was going against the will of God. He was going to manipulate the situation and play favourites in a secret plan.  We dads should learn from the mistakes of Isaac. We can’t pretend with our kids .. we have to be fair with each of them and avoid favouritism. We should make it our first priority to seek and do the will of God.  We should not play favourites with our children.  Rather,we should be eager to bless each of our sons and daughters and cherish them for who they are as individuals.  Isaac never learned this,and his family paid dearly for it for years.  The sins of the father were visited on the children,all because of the determination of the father.  Very often,what we leave in our wills is not all that important.  What we leave our children in their memories,in their understanding,in their character,in their experience – that is what really counts.  It is a great tragedy to get to the end of your life and be interested in your children,only to discover that you missed the opportunity to bless them and now it is too late.  There should be no unblessed child in a home.  Each of us needs the blessing of our parents.  It is so sad to see what happens to a child who grows up in a family where they feel they have not been blessed,and nothing blesses a child more than being loved and accepted simply for who they are.

But it wasn’t all Isaac’s fault. Rebecca (the Mother)  did some scheming and pretending herself and devised a devious scheme to trick and deceive her husband. She took matters into her own hand and you can read the whole story in Genesis 27. True enough,the blessing went to Jacob as she planned,but the end result was twenty years of unexpected exile for Rebekah’s favourite son,an exile for which he not been prepared because of his sheltered life at home.  Whenever we take matters into our own hands and try to help God along with the doing of His will,we should not be surprised to discover disastrous results in the wake of our actions.  The end never justifies the means,and our plottings and schemes will never work out for good.  For example,when Moses took matters into his own hands and killed the Egyptian,the result was not the revolution he hoped for.  Instead,he had to flee for his own life.  Later on,God delivered the Jewish people from their bondage in Egypt through Moses,but not before he spent 40 years in the wilderness learning to wait upon God’s strength and timing.  It is better to wait for God in the beginning. We have a sovereign God who loves us as His own,who loves our kids as His own,and the Bible says that God wants the best for us all.  His promises are sure; His blessing will come.  But we must learn to wait on His timing for things and allow Him to do His work in His own way.
Children often like to dress up and play “make believe” ..they may pretend they are e  fireman,an astronaut,a soldier,a professional football player,even Tarzan,all in an effort to pretend they were someone else.  It’s cute when children dress up and pretend,but when an adult does this we know there is something tragically wrong. 

Do you recall the movie  Catch Me If You Can.   It stared Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio.  It’s the true story of Frank Abagnale who worked as a doctor,a lawyer,and a co-pilot for a major airline even though he had no education or credentials for the jobs.  His skill at check fraud netted him millions of dollars in stolen funds.  Frank Abagnale pretended to be somebody he wasn’t,and his life of deception finally caught up with him.

There’s a story in the gospel of Matthew where Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. They’re worried about the rules,about following the regulations of keeping the dishes and items they use for food clean. Jesus calls the Pharisee’s hypocrites for being so concerned with cleaning the outside of the cup and dish,when on the inside they are filled with filthy greed and self- indulgence. Jesus is telling them to stop working so hard on the brightly polished image. That might fool the rest of the world but not him. God wants truth,he wants us to come to him as we really are………. broken and in need of saving,unable to do that on our own.

Psalm 51 goes on to say that God has no delight in sacrifice,in a burnt offering,it doesn’t please him. Going to church,fasting,paying tithes with a boastful heart isn’t what God wants. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

All our lives,even as Christians,you and I try to make people think we are someone we’re not,just like Jacob.  We do our best to project an image,and we work hard to look like the person we think will receive a blessing.  We try to keep the chinks out of our armour so that no one really knows just how badly we are doing on the inside.  We are desperately afraid that if people knew what we were really like,they’d reject us.  So we spend a lot of our time and energy pretending,projecting,and covering up,just like Jacob.

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The truth of the matter is that we don’t have to pretend in order to receive the blessing of God.  It has been promised to us from before we were born.  God’s love and favour cannot be earned,and it is never deserved.  That’s why it’s called grace.