“Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body” (2 Kg 6:30).
The king was dressed with royal clothes but underneath he was dressed with sackcloth. He was mourning in his heart but pretended life goes on as usual. He was troubled in his heart, but outwardly he wanted to show that he is a tough man, still looking like the king! He is like many Christians today who smile and look happy outside, but in their hearts they are troubled and afraid. What is behind this pretense? The evil religious spirits teach many Christians how to deceive others with smiles and sweet words. These people have perfected the skill of having a religious ‘testimony’ when peace and joy is absent. That is a lie!
As a doctor and as a pastor, this is my experience… For example, somebody comes to my office. I ask: ‘How are you?’ Most of them automatically say: ’I am fine!’ Then I ask: ‘Why then do you want to see me? Are you sick?’ Many of them say: ‘I am well. My enemy is sick’. At the beginning I was confused. With time, I had to learn that this is a spiritually coded answer meaning ‘I am sick but I cannot say it…’ The truth is that the person is sick and he (she) needs help. But they are too afraid to speak the truth. They fear that if they agree that they are sick, the sickness with become worse. They choose a sweet lie than a bitter truth. In my experience both as a doctor and a pastor, religious people are very difficult to help. They complicate themselves trying to come out of a trap. Hypocrisy is practiced to their disadvantage. I often have to say: ‘See, I am a doctor. You are in a doctor’s office. Relax and tell me the truth. It is not your enemy who is here. You look sick and you need help. Tell me the truth…’ Even then, confronted with the truth, they still struggle to speak it. They want me to fall into the same trap of deception. I often have to say: ‘My friend, if you are not ready to tell me the truth, you please go home! Leave my office! I cannot help you!’ Seeing that I am serious, he (she) finally submits: ‘Doctor, Ma… I … I…. I am sick. My stomach is upset… I need help… Please help me…’ That is the blessed breaking point when, by the grace of God, I can help. Pride, presence and religion go thru the window. Wisdom finds a place to manifest. Humility shines! The grace of God is experienced by both the doctor (pastor) and the patient. Truth sets free. Truth is healing. Truth begets the hope of freedom! The Hope of glory is greater than all! The true testimony of God’s touch is ready to be born!
As an unbeliever I too practiced false humility. I did not believe in God. I did not use religious words. But I was afraid to open my heart to people for fear of possible wounding. When I was sick I tried to heal myself. The doctor’s office was the last place to go to. When I was troubled by dreams, a pastor was the last person to visit. When I was lonely, I pretended to be ok. I gave the impression that I do not need friends. Truth was fearful to me. But when I got saved, I became a new person. I relaxed in the knowledge that my Savior Jesus Christ loves me. I learn to trust Him and the people He directed me to. I humbled myself! I learned to speak the truth in love and from my heart. I became free. Up till today, if you see me happy outside, it means that I have overflowing joy inside. If my face looks sad, it means that I am burdened for my sin or for another’s. My face and my heart are now like twins. No more pretenses! What a blessed freedom! I trust Christ when I am sad because He knows how I feel. He is ‘the Man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering’ (Is 53:3). I trust Christ in my joys for He is the happiest Man in the whole universe. ‘For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross’ (Heb 12:2). My Lord is my Wonderful Counselor and Friend forever! He never pretends so why should I?
This is my prayer for you: “Be free from hypocrisy and religious pretense! Be yourself! May the Holy Spirit do a deeper work in your hearts and free you to find your identity and destiny in Christ alone!” Glory to God!