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Just dropping by ... Masks

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 05 August 2016

Back in the day, I studied Greek theater. As many of you know, the Greeks performed in huge outdoor amphitheaters, so they used gigantic masks equipped with megaphones to portray their characters. The modern word hypocrisy came from those masks.

According to Bible One.net:

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Hypocrisy, hypocrite
In the context of Greek drama, the term hypocrite was applied to an actor on the theater stage. Since an actor pretends to be someone other than himself, hypocrite was applied metaphorically to a person who “acts a part” in real life, pretending to be better than he actually is, one who simulates goodness. In secular Greek literature, therefore, hypocrites may be either neutral or undesirable.

In the New Testament, however, it is always undesirable, signifying one who works a deception by feigned piety.
Hypocrite

I can’t help but look at this election cycle and wonder if I am watching a Greek play. The voices behind the masks thunder with attacks and promises. “Elect me, and all your problems will be solved.

Elect my opponent, and the country is doomed to destruction.” Of course, not in those kind and innocuous words. They go for the jugular vein. They call names and air the dirty laundry. They even make up stories that aren’t remotely true.

To give the lie the semblance of truth, they preface the lie with “might,” “maybe,” “possibly,” or “someone says.” The same stuff malicious gossip is made of, but it’s fair game because “I didn’t say it was true. I only placed the doubt in the minds of the media, and they took it from there.”

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reading the scriptures

We listen and believe because we see and hear it in living color, or read the tabloids and see the airbrushed pictures, and another conservative bites the dust.

I want to know: Who is the real actor behind the megaphone and the mask? I am weary of the lies and the misinformation. I want the truth. The kind of truth Jesus says will set us free. I want a man or woman of integrity, but I wonder if that is possible. I wonder if we have forgotten what integrity means.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Integrity is such a state of mind. Your thoughts, words and actions are always in harmony with your values. The highest integrity is when your values are totally in harmony with the Spirit of God.

I am not sure we have many candidate choices who fit that description, but we can, through a process, decide who will best lead our country and will help us wade through the lies and half-truths spun by the media.

Praying for spiritual gifts is the key, but first we must get our own houses in order. We cannot pray to wipe out or even recognize the hypocrisy of others when we are using our own masks.

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When I scroll down the pages of Facebook, I often see posts that are filled with venom and hate. Words from good Christian people who, in a face-to-face conversation, would never say such things. They have put on a mask and megaphone to silence the opposition. I do it myself sometimes.

There have been times I have been embarrassed by a post I have passed on, only to find I was promoting a lie. Are we passing on gossip without checking out the facts? Are we looking for the key words of gossip: might, possibly, maybe, could be and other gossip-barbed words?

Of course, in our prayers, we are not expected to be perfect, just sincere. Gandhi said, “In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without heart.” In other words, we cannot pray a lie, as Huck Finn points out.

It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn’t come. Why wouldn’t they? It warn’t no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn’t come.

It was because my heart warn’t right; it was because I warn’t square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing ... but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can’t pray a lie – I found that out.The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

When your thoughts and your words come together in harmony, pray for the gifts you need to solve your dilemma. The apostle Paul tells of the gifts that are available.

6. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

It is certain that if we ask for a gift, we must put forth some effort. If we ask for wisdom and knowledge, we need to be prepared to spend some time studying things out in our mind. We must be informed about the issues and become familiar with trustworthy sources.

9. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

The gift of faith is paramount. Faith is the catalyst for all other gifts. If you don’t feel you have faith enough to see miracles happen, or to get answers, start with hope. Pray for the desire to believe.

God will grant that heartfelt plea. As your desire and hope grow stronger, pray for greater faith. According to your sincerity, God will answer.

10. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.
—1 Corinthians 12:6-11

Among the other gifts available through the spirit is the gift of discerning of spirits. It is not talking about discerning the Spirit of God. It is talking about discerning human spirits and knowing if they are of God or the devil. This gift would be of great value to us in this election cycle. It is the ability to know when someone is telling the truth or not.

How will you know when you are blessed with the gift of discernment? For me, it is the feeling that comes when a child is telling you a whopper. There is a dissonance. It is clear the facts don’t add up, or the facts change from one telling to the next. It is like a bad taste in your mouth, but the taste is in your heart.

You know something isn’t quite right. It is too good to be true, and something in your mind says, “How will he or she ever do that?” or “That is not consistent with the laws of God or the Constitution.”

This election is so important. We need all the gifts of the spirit that are available to us. Jesus said, “Ask and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” He is always there, willing to give us the best gifts, but we have to do some seeking and asking. That is difficult in our treadmill society. Sometimes the day is half gone before our knees hit the floor.

The day is so packed with sardine living we can’t fit a prayer in sideways. We must find time to stop and say, “No matter what, this space of time belongs to the Master Problem Solver.” He knows the end from the beginning. He knows how things will turn out, and He possesses the gifts that will shape circumstances to our best good – if we will only ask.

We will not always get the answer we want, but we will always get the answer we need. If we seek the spiritual gift of discernment, we will understand why things turned out the way they did and eventually rejoice in it.  PD

PHOTO: We must find time to stop and say, ‘No matter what, this space of time belongs to the Master Problem Solver.’ Photo by Thinkstock.

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