Hypocrites

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In the book “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Robert Louis Stevenson shares the duality of being that exists within each of us. There is a desire to let ourselves out sometimes and not be constrained to social limitations. I just finished reading this interesting book and at the surface, the good Dr. Jekyll is trying to come up with a serum that will help humanity. However, he unleashes out the power of his other being – the one that only wants to live for himself. We meet Mr. Hyde slinking about in the dark shadows of night, after a girl mysteriously is injured. Stevenson was intrigued by the forces of good and evil that lurk beneath the surface. He wanted to explore the possibilities of what might happen if, in buttoned-up Victorian England, someone got loose of the morals that were restricting everyone.

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The book is not alone in understanding that human nature has two sides. There are days that you don’t feel like being nice to everyone or days where the moodiness and emotions get the best of you. These are the days that I have to really be in prayer. I have to ask God to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Some people have told me that it is not good to hold on to your emotions but you should let it all out – after all, we all suffer from these things, so why not be transparent? I wrote about being transparent in my blog here. While I am all for being transparent in what I believe, how I am far from perfect and other things of importance, I don’t believe in allowing my emotional state to overrun good behavior or even my day.

Let me share an example: I woke up in a bad mood one morning and everything seemed to be going wrong. My eyeliner kept breaking and as I moved it up, I realized it was all done. My tea bubbled over in the microwave & I had to clean all that up. The bus came ten minutes early and I had to then drive my child to school… on and on. When I got to the grocery store and things were getting messed up in front of me in the check out line – the attitude (or Mr. Hyde) showed up. I was ready to drive back home, get back into my pajamas and start all over again.

Being an adult and learning how to cope on a daily basis is something that is not taught to adults. Anti-depressant use is sky-high in the United States (one of the most affluent countries in the world). Much of depression stems from lack of control and also from a feeling of helplessness. But guess what??? The Bible has advice on all this – you are NOT in control and will not be, for God has ordained every single day of your life. He knows when you were in your mother’s womb and when you will take your last breath. One of the first verses I memorized from Matthew 6:4 when I became a Christian was “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

theater

Being two faced shows up in different ways. In the days of the Greek theater, the leading actors were called “Hypocrites.” The tragedy and comedy masks were worn by the actors to portray their emotions. Here is some information from a research paper found online:

The most essential part of the actors’ costumes was the mask. These masks had big holes for the mouth and the eyes. The chorus members also wore masks and all were similar to the other’s, but the hypocrites’ masks were different from each other hypocrite.

The masks are personalized for each character; specific emotions were expressed on the mask so the audience knew if a character was happy, upset, tired, or scared. The masks with subtle variations also helped the audience identify the sex, age, and social rank of the characters. It also amplified the hypocrite’s voice, making it possible to hear him everywhere in the theatron. Because the masks were pretty simple, the audience would be able to pay more attention to the hypocrite’s actions rather than his appearances.

Notice any similarities between how we behave and the significance of the actors actions? Jesus addressed the Pharisees in the same manner on purpose, using terminology they were familiar with in Mark 7:6  “And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;”

I grew up in a family and a culture that required us to behave in public in a certain way. I know many Muslims who behave piously on the outside, while doing things that are not in accordance with the way you are supposed to live according to the religion. I know many Christians who are Christian in name only. I know that the human heart has the ability to do dark things when no one else is looking. The problem with all that covering up is that if you allow the dark part to continue to come out without putting it on check via supernatural ways (i.e. prayer and taking each thought captive in the name of Christ), you will end up like Mr. Hyde. The book ends with the potion not working and Mr. Hyde getting stronger and stronger each time he has transformed and done evil things. Dr. Jekyll was not able to control Mr. Hyde and thus shriveled away.

Hypocrisy is a lie. It is to present yourself in a way that you are not behaving. To take your thoughts captive is to refocus your behavior and not to just tamper down your feelings. Feelings are fleeting. Emotions are unstable and unreliable. You could be hungry (“hangry?”), tired or just not in the mood. To stop the flow of negative feelings, pray. There is great power in prayer and it helps to refocus your energy on to something better than yourself. To help others, to reach out to others and to help them with whatever they are going through in the name of Christ – that is the hallmark of a true believer. It’s not about YOU. It’s about how you portray Christ through your actions.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me ~ Galatians 2:20.

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Let’s Talk

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My husband & I are Marriage Mentors. We developed the Marriage Mentoring Ministry at our last church and by the grace of God, are helping to create a new Marriage Ministry at our new church. It is an amazing blessing to work with couples who are either seriously dating, are engaged to be married or are newly married. We are NOT counselors, nor do we give advice. This is how mentoring differs from other things. More on that later in another post.

I have taught Business Communication for Undergraduate Business schools since 1997 – coming up on 20 years! Much of what works well for the workplace can and does work well for the home. It’s just that we tend to be more polite to those we work with than those with whom we live. It’s a fact. Familiarity adds to the casualness with which we approach relationships that are close to us. While we take care to watch our words at work, it doesn’t always happen to me at home. I am mostly talking about myself here… I don’t want to point a finger at you because when I do that, I know that four other fingers are pointing back at me (in my case, that is literally true, as I have one husband and three kids! Ha! Ha!).

I taught a Conflict Resolution course earlier this week to College Interns. They were absolutely NOT interested in the session or me, until I asked them how many of them were in a relationship. Most raised their hands and that’s when they got connected into the topic. Sometimes, we think that this stuff we are learning at work does not apply to anything other than work. When you can link things at work to home, that’s where learning becomes valuable and memorable to others.

Talking to others about personal matters is not easy. In the study of Conflict Resolution, I usually start off the session by asking them to think about how conflicts were handled in their home when they were growing up. Did their parent(s) yell? Were they passive aggressive or always trying to keep the peace? These behaviors can definitely influence how you react to conflict.

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There are several ways you can approach conflict resolution – I also wrote about conflict & perspectives in my blog titled “Bridges, Balconies, & Burquas“. The first is to know your behavioral style. Most inventories (DiSC, Myers Briggs, Jungian, etc) are based on two dimensions: Task & People (horizontal axis) and Direct & Indirect (or in the figure, Outgoing/Reserved). There are free online tests you can take (& I encourage you to take them!) to find out how you fall into these quadrants. No matter what you take, the main questions are:

  1. Do you tell people directly how you feel about certain things or do you beat around the bush in order to spare feelings?
  2. Does interaction with others (maybe 20 min or more of talking) energize you or leave you making a mental laundry list of all the things you needed to get done in that time you just spent?

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Answers to those questions will allow you to figure out which side you land on – if you are energized with interactions with others, you will fall near to the “I” and the “S” side. If you are not, then “D” & “C” are more your style. If you are direct, you will go towards the top half of the circle and if indirect, then “C” & “S” may be more like you. Nothing is etched in stone, but knowing how you like to be approached is a good start to communicating with others.

Lack of Communication is one of the top reasons for divorce in a marriage. It is also one of the main reasons why employees leave (1. My boss & I didn’t get along OR 2. My co-workers & I didn’t see eye to eye). That’s it. It’s really that simple. When we start to see where someone might fall into the style spectrum, it’s easier to understand that them being quiet doesn’t mean they don’t like you – it simply means they are processing information & are being Contemplative! In other words, they are actually taking the time to think about what you just said! How many times do we misunderstand what we just saw in another person and shake our heads? The answer: I just did it today! 🙂

So, before you decide to say “Let’s Talk” to someone, you may want to consider how they like to be approached, how they view the world (=differently than you) and also what you may need to do in order to come to a good resolution. If we thought things through on a daily basis, maybe we wouldn’t waste so much energy in assuming a negative situation. The Bible says “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.(NASB – Philippians 4:8). That is a great place to start. In addition, Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” When you watch your words and think for just a second before you speak, it can make a complete difference in the way you approach others and in return, how others approach you.

If you would like to learn more about the DiSC assessment or any of the things I wrote about, I would love to hear from you!