How Many Faces Do You Have?
…or Are You A Two Faced Poser?
Growing up in a nearly all white community in a white family there were a lot of jokes about other races and nationalities. We would tell these jokes with reckless abandon in private and hushed voices in public. I am ashamed as I look back at the jokes and that I would tell.
As I grew older and entered into close relationships with people who looked different than me that these jokes didn’t seem as funny anymore. A few times I manned up and challenged the joke teller, “Well I’m not racist if that’s what you’re getting at. It’s just a joke. It’s not like I’d say that joke around them.”
In Galatians 2 Paul tells a story about a time when he and Peter (Cephas) had a little “issue”:
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (ESV)
It’s sad isn’t it? 2,000 years later we haven’t changed a whole lot. Many of us still live hypocritically. We act one way with one set of friends and another with a different group of friends.
Will we ever come to the place where we live consistent lives? The hypocrisy of Peter is nothing new.
What we do and say in private is who we are. Jesus said,
Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (ESV)
Let us take stock of our lives. Let each of us look into the mirror and listen to the words that come out of our mouths. What do these words say about our heart?
How Many Faces Do You Have? was originally published in The Rev on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.