How Many Ways Can I Be Bad?

24 06 2010

Aren’t there a lot of things you can do wrong?

This morning I read Proverbs 11:3,

“The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”

“Duplicity” caught my eye so I looked it up to get its exact meaning; it is: deception by pretending to feel and act one way while feeling and acting another (wordcentral.com). Who has not done this? Can you be a human being and not do this?

If one is awestruck by the beauty and complexity of life, one must also be astonished over the incredible webwork of “evil.” I mean, how many ways can we be bad? There is “bad” that is right out there, and then there is the Pandora’s Box of  back-room bad, such as this one called duplicity; I doubt it would make the top ten bad things but don’t be fooled, it is as lethal as murder.

Duplicity is acid (the kind that burns your eyes out, not the hallucinogenic). It is the thing that eats away and eventually annihilates trust. It is the “say one thing, think another” evil; it is “the fake”; it is what makes us juggle stories and habits; it is strategic deception. From the most innocent, “I’m fine” when you’re not to the “we’re fine” when you’re about to break something; duplicity misrepresents at every corner.

Little microscopic duplicity; you are a nasty one, aren’t you? You are a game at first — one that requires skill and word-power; and then you are a trip-wire. Why do I live with duplicity? “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do!!!” (Paul, in Romans 7:15). We know what duplicity feels like; it is the scab we keep picking at; the flaw that won’t let us off the hook.

How many things can I do wrong in the short amount of time I have been given? How many ways can I be bad?

Some people say, “I don’t care!” because God’s standard is too high, too impossible to meet. But “I don’t care” is just us giving up; it doesn’t fix anything; it doesn’t make it easier to live with ourselves.

The word that just came to my mind as I am writing this is “reconcile.” When I do my finances and two columns don’t agree with each other (a situation I face frequently), I need to reconcile my statement; I need to get them to agree.  Duplicity is when two things are not in agreement with each other; one side is one way, the other side is another.

Jesus, recognizing our duplicity, chose to use that word “reconcile” to describe what He did on the cross. He brought agreement between us and God (we were alienated from God because of our evil behavior) and “now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…(Colossians 1:21-23). Because of our agreement with God He shows us how to have agreement in our own heart and in how we relate to others.

On our own, we are filled with duplicity, but in Christ we are reconciled.

— Teresa Klassen

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