Would you call yourself authentic? Are you the same person on Sunday morning that you are on Friday night? Are you the same person no matter who the audience is? Is your Facebook or cyber self the same one your friends who are up close and personal know? Do you use the same words? If push comes to shove, do you stick to your beliefs even if it cost you everything? Do you ever fudge just a little if it is going to help you somehow or take a hard-line if that offers a greater personal reward?
There are a couple of news stories I’ve seen this week that have caused me to step back and question my own actions. They have caused me to take a look and evaluate my authenticity. They have caused me to take a look at my motivation for the things I do and don’t do. They have caused me to question when and why I follow thru on a strongly held belief and when I fall to a temptation to let it slide. Why do I choose to turn my back on sin in my life one minute and partake with reckless abandon the next? How must that look to those around me?
The first story that hit my radar this week was Hobby Lobby and their lawsuit against the U.S. Government who is forcing them to pay for contraception drugs against their religious beliefs.
Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain, and Conestega Wood, a custom kitchen cabinet manufacturer, are arguing before the Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act, which compels insurance companies to include contraception in their health care plans, places a “substantial burden” on the owners’ “sincerely held” religious beliefs, violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
And then comes this breaking news…
Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).
The full article can be found here.
The second news article and surrounding controversy that caught my attention this week was the story of children being dropped from sponsorship over the decision by World Vision to hire legally married gay and lesbian employees and their quick reversal of that decision once the sponsorships were dropped. According to one source as many as 10,000 sponsorships were dropped as a result of that decision. It didn’t take long to change their mind.
An article on this story can be found here.
Do we have the right to believe what we want? Yes! It’s a basic freedom no one can take away from us. It was given to us by God from the beginning of time. He set this entire world in motion with an offer of freedom of choice. Are their governments and organizations and people and churches that want to take away freedom of choice? Yes! Does our freedom of choice trump God’s laws? No! He offers free will with consequences. He offers free will with a call to obedience. So then is it really free? Yes! We still get to choose to obey or not. We still get to choose to accept His plans or not. He doesn’t want followers who don’t really have a choice in the matter. He doesn’t want to be loved out of obligation. Would you?
But what happens when we aren’t consistent? What happens when we start judging one sin as greater than another? What happens when we flip-flop based on the amount of personal benefit or pain it may cause?
I started to get really upset with Hobby Lobby and World Vision. I started to get really upset with their public display of inconsistency. I started to get really upset with the people who pulled their sponsorships of the children. I don’t think any of it is okay. I don’t think children should be used as pawns for ANY reason. I don’t think a person’s religious convictions should be held out in one moment to save a dollar at the same time they are ignoring them to make a dollar. It is NOT okay! It is hypocrisy at its finest.
And then I got a tap on the shoulder and heard a kind, small voice…
How many hungry, starving children have you even fed?
How often do you flip-flop in a less public way?
Who have you judged without knowing all the circumstances?
What sins do you ignore because they benefit you?
What commands do you follow one minute and ignore the next?
It is so easy to jump up on a bandwagon for one side or the other. It is so easy to condemn an entire group of people for a sin we wouldn’t commit and approve of another for sins we aren’t willing to let go of. It is so easy to judge the “sinner” AND the judgmental depending on which side you fall on.
When I received that tap on the shoulder this morning it came with an image of Jesus with a rock in his hand wanting to know if I really wanted to throw stones.
I’ve got a long way to go in my quest for an authentic life. I’ve got a long way to go in my quest for a life without sin. I’ve got a long way to go in my desire to follow His commands no matter the cost. I’ve got my fair share of justified sins and wishy-washy choices.
Thank God for His grace and mercy and forgiveness when my free will hurts Him or any of His creation!