– Benjamin Franklin
A rather surprising quote, coming from the man who once wrote in Poor Richard’s Almanac that “early to bed and early to rise; makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
But like most of us, Franklin’s life was often at contradiction with itself. We obey (usually) our parents, listen (again, usually) to our teachers, and then as adults develop our own philosophy of life. If we are Christians, that philosophy is deeply rooted in Scripture and biblical truth.
However, what happens when we act in opposition to our very own philosophy of life? Does that mean that we are hypocrites? In Franklin’s case, does that make his admonition about the value of getting an early start to the day any less true?
Webster’s defines the word hypocrite as “a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right, but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs; a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.”
Did you catch that? A hypocrite isn’t someone who says one thing and does another, as is commonly believed. On the contrary, a hypocrite is a person whose beliefs are not sincerely held. That means that when they act in opposition to those stated beliefs, they are actually being true to themselves.
So what do you call a person who espouses a certain set of beliefs, but fails to live up to them? In simple terms, he or she is a sinner. And in my case, guilty as charged.
What about you? Are you a poser? A pretender? Someone who puts on a false appearance? Or are you simply a sinner desperately in need of a Savior?
Listen to these words written by Bill and Gloria Gaither…
“I’m just a sinner saved by grace; when I stood condemned to death, He took my place. Now I live and breathe in freedom with each breath of life I take.
Loved and forgiven, back with the living, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice… O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:20, 24-25 (NKJV)