Children understand mistakes. They don't mind that their parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends make them. They hate hypocrisy, however, and I believe their little "hypo-dars" can spot hypocrisy and differentiate that from a mere mistake. Too many adult children disown their parents and very few of them are angry about their parent's mistakes. I met a man in a small group a few days ago who simply said, "He calls himself my Dad. I just can't stand the hypocrisy." I don't know really what he meant, but his bitterness seeped thickly and belied a relatively cool and simple response to a question about his family.
My Dad-in-law took his motorcycle driver's test yesterday. He didn't work it out this time and I suppose he felt a little foolish. The test isn't as easy as it looks. He said something like, "I feel a little dumb, but I loved the ride here and I loved the ride back home. I'll take the test again in a couple weeks." He has a permit y'see, so must ride with another motorcyclist until he achieves his full license. I'm that guy for the most part. I'm watching. I'm good with dad's mistakes. And his mistakes yesterday did not belie a man after God's own heart. He bore good fruit, and I was watching.
My wife's bike tire went flat on our morning ride. We were disappointed. God provided a bike shop close by, but the shop hadn't yet opened. She said, "Oh well, we'll ride this afternoon. Ride home, get the car then pick me up. I'll hang at boomer's coffee shop until you're here or until the bike shop opens."
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control--the Holy Spirit's fruit--delicious, juice-filled fruit. We rode through a construction zone, a mistake. But my bride didn't belie her fruits by hypocrisy. I was watching.
Monique shaved my head so I'll stay cooler next week when we ride the week-long bicycling event RAGBRAI. My five-year-old nephew watched in wonder as my hair fell to the ground. I could tell his proverbial light-bulb was turned on full. Monique shaved and my nephew Aaron finally said, "Auntie Monique can you do that to me and I want to look like Uncle Rick!" Aaron's hypo-dar read-out said I was safe. He wanted to be like Uncle Rick. I sat somewhat impatiently on my chair, shirt off, shorts on, hair-cut bib on. My nose itched, my neck itched and I got hair on my tongue. But Aaron's hypo-dar was clear, the young man was watching and he wanted to be like me. He wanted to look like Uncle Rick. He wanted to be my little twin. Long term, if he wants to look like me, what does that mean for him? I should want to know.
Later he sat on my lap and leaned against my chest. He turned and I felt his small hand graze over my buzzed head. He did the same to his own head, then leaned against me again.
I've made mistakes. But that day all was clear on the hypo front.
When asked why he didn't go to church, one gentleman said, "Because all Christians are hypocrites!" He's right. I've been a hypocrite. The moment I did something against God's will I hypocrited (is that a word?) God's name. I don't have to say God's name out of context to take his name in vain because the moment I disobey God's will I've taken His name and made it vain. I'm a sinner therefore I need a Savior. Some days there are blips on the children's hypo-dar. I wish that weren't true. But life on this side of eternal life is met with the same unconditional love as the other side of eternal life. I'm glad about that. But what about the blips? What about the oft heard, "He calls himself my dad..."? What about...
Open the closet, wade through your skeletons and bring out, then attach your own hypocrisy meters and wear them like a pace maker on a bad heart. Whatever is true, noble, right and pure; whatever is admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, I urge you to think about such things.
You do, and your children will be there when you're old.