Christians are hypocrites.
But then so are Democrats and Republicans, Muslims and Buddhists and Jews, Green Peace and PITA, and yes, probably even the Dali Lama and Gandhi.
True Believers are always hypocrites. They can’t help it. It comes with the territory. There are only 2 ways to escape hypocritical behavior: (1) Be a perfect adherent to your belief system, or (2) be a bland, boring and mostly cowardly person that is really not committed to any philosophy, person, religion, or politic.
Hypocrites Are Authentic Believers
Authentic, true believers generally align themselves with something or someone much greater than themselves. The tenets of such belief systems are typically very difficult to follow. Accordingly, on occasion, authentic believers will screw up and publicly fail. They are human and not perfect. And their adversaries are oh-so quick to name them “hypocrites.”
But they are not really hypocrites. They’re simply people that make mistakes. And making mistakes or having a flaw is part of what it means to be human. You cannot escape it.
Shoot, if I were called out on all my mistakes and flaws I’d be the King of Hypocrites. And you know what? I’d be proud of it. At least I tried to be an authentic believer. That’s better than a do-nothing, believe-nothing lazy accuser of people who try to do something meaningful.
What about you? Do you believe in something so devoutly and so dangerously that you continually run the exciting risk of being hypocritical?
I hope so. In fact, I’m guessing that you do “believe deeply” because the readers of the blog are THAT kind of people.
Now here’s my question: Can you articulate your authenticity clearly?
Authenticity is Tricky Stuff
I’m sure that your goal, and mine, is to be true to your core “self.” A worthy goal, no doubt. But the question always comes up, “What is my true self?” Preachers, teachers, gurus, and influential people are constantly telling you who and what to be.
Yikes! I mean, you have so many conflicting feelings and so much other crap swirling around in your gut that you can’t tell the true you from the wanna be you from the you everyone else wants you to be.
Alan Jones, a highly respected Episcopal priest, wrote, “Most of us have second-hand beliefs.” When I first read that I was so freed up to believe in the real me (although I’ve always been a bit “different”). We’ve been preached to, cajoled, captured by others’ powerful thoughts, and confused by our inability to determine: what is ME and what is THEM?
First-hand beliefs and genuine authenticity is tricky stuff for sure! So what do you do? Exactly how do you uncover the real you? Well, sorry, but I can’t tell how to do it “exactly,” but I do have an idea.
WRITE YOUR OWN PERSONAL 10 COMMANDMENTS.
Authentic Believers Should Have Their Own Personal 10 Commandments
No matter what your personal religious convictions are, you must admit that one of the most powerful lists of beliefs and behaviors are The 10 Commandments. Most people—even non-Jews and non-Christians—believe and attempt to adhere to at least 6 of these commandments: Honor your parents, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t do adultery, don’t lie about another person, and don’t desire what someone else owns. These universal and cross-cultural commandments certainly have a place in the social order of most all societies (in one form or another).
For you and me personally, I’d like to offer a different challenge. What if you were to Create Your Own Personal 10 Commandments?
Your personal commandments could be a handful of behaviors that drive your day-to-day life. I started writing down my 10 Commandments about 3 years ago. Not surprisingly, they continue to evolve and are currently undergoing more revisions. Nevertheless, they remind me of the kind of person I want to be and the way I want to live—authentically.
Before I share my personal commandments, I would like to remind you that commandments are concerned with BEHAVIORS, not BELIEFS. Don’t miss this! It’s not about beliefs. It’s about what you do!!! Beliefs are most true when they are action-oriented and can be seen and felt by those around you, especially the people who know and love you the most.
Create Your Own 10 Commandments
Let’s not make this too hard. Here are some tips…
- Most Important of All. Select two or three trusted friends, including your significant other, and ask them: “In your perception, What do you think I believe? How do you perceive my values? What do think I care about most?” Watch how articulate they can be. You will be shocked! Do you why they know so much? They watch you act… regularly and in different situations. They like you because they like “who you are.” Let them tell you who they think you are. Then ponder.
- What do you do almost every day that makes you happy? Better yet, that makes someone else happy?
- What behavior would keep you from being embarrassed?
- Do you have a religious (or non-religious) conviction that you want to honor by doing something specific?
- Finally, do you have an over-riding principle that seems to drive your life almost daily? I do. Mine is simple. In fact, it has become my life’s mission. I need to ”help people feel better about themselves.” That’s it!
Now after you write your 10, know that you can change them as you discover more about yourself. We are never locked into one list.
I debated whether to show you my list but I decided it might be helpful. So, I put 6 of my ten, just to give you an idea of what I’m thinking about. And please, please remember that although I genuinely try to live this out… I can be called a hypocrite. I’m a long way from perfect. Right now I’ll settle for adequate.
6 of Charlie’s 10.
- Help people feel better about themselves
- Interact daily with that utterly mysterious force, whom I call God, who directs my life in ways I cannot fully comprehend
- Fully utilize my creative spirit in all that I undertake
- Be intentional about the quality of my soul—more focus on creativity and love, while removing the toxicity of money and busyness and bad people
- Joyfully convey my love and support for my wife and son
So…? What are you waiting for? Write!
Now, really, send me some examples. Really, really. I want to read them. We all struggle with meaningful authenticity. What a great way to start!