Don’t you hate it when someone acts like a hypocrite? Whether it’s them, you, or me, these are 6 not-so-funny contradictions in life.
No one likes a hypocrite. If I asked you if you know any hypocrites, chances are you could list a bunch off right now. Usually we target those in politics or in the public eye who have famously said one thing, and then famously done another. We hammer celebrities like Miley Cyrus who have gone on the record of being anti-drugs, for instance, and next minute been busted for another crazy night out. Other times, we hammer family members or friends who we’ve seen up close and personal, and seen when their private behaviour is very different to what they want everyone else to believe.
In truth, all of us are guilty of living out a contradiction. Where we say one thing, but actually mean another. Where we say we believe in something, but our behaviour is completely the opposite. You know the drill.
Here are 6 great contradictions in life, courtesy of all of us.
Wanting friends, but not being friendly
All of us need good friends. I think one of the greatest tragedies of adulthood is that many of us struggle to make new friendships, or maintain old ones. As life goes on, people’s seasons change – they move overseas, they get married, they have kids, they become more social or less social. Along the way, the people we once called friends aren’t as close as they once were. I was just thinking the other day about some uni friends I haven’t seen in a while, wondering how their life is going. That’s just the way life goes – you aren’t always able to stay in touch as the paths of your lives start to become more defined in a certain direction.
So what happens to most of us is we just lose friends, or we become less close with them. And that leaves us wanting closer friendships again to fill the gaps left in our lives from the people that have moved on.
But the great irony here is that even though that’s something we want, we don’t always act like it.
I wonder what it’s like to be your friend. Maybe if I know you in person I could tell you, but I wonder if you’ve thought that about yourself. I know I have. I wonder what it would be like to have a Matt Clark in my life. I wonder if I would see him as an asset to my life, as someone I could trust, as a guy I could just hang out with. I wonder if he would be short with people and always cutting them off. I wonder if he would be an emotional drain in my life, always complaining about his problems, never giving back into our relationship. I wonder if he would turn up to my birthdays or to my celebrations. I wonder if he would never reply to me. I’m hoping he would be a good friend, but it’s probably worth me actually thinking it through and making sure. Maybe it’s even worth asking my current friends what it’s like to have Matt Clark as a friend – which is actually something I have done before, and it’s really helped build my friendships even deeper.
How about you? Would you be happy to have a friend like you in your life? Have you asked your friends how they feel in your relationship? If not, don’t get angry or depressed about it – just maybe think about what you could do practically and intentionally about it.
Friendly people make friends. It’s not too complicated. Our desire and our actions don’t always line up in this department, unfortunately.
Desiring intimacy, but hating men or women
This one makes me sad. I’ve mentioned a story a few times of a friend of mine who was about to ask a girl out. He’d liked her for a while and thought it was about time he put it on the table that he’d like to see her more exclusively and just to get to know her away from everyone else. On the day he was planning to do it, a bunch of us were having a conversation together, and then she said something absolutely devastating:
“I just don’t know any good men”
Not only was this annoying to me being a man who was in the conversation (ah yeah hey, standing right here you know), but it completely shut down my friend. In case you’re wondering, no, he never did ask her out. A while later we were talking and she had mentioned that she kind of liked that guy, and when she found out why he never went for her, she said “Oh but I didn’t mean it!”
Ah, the power of words.
And sure, my female friend here actually meant that she hadn’t had a good experience with any men in the past, but because of the bitterness in her life towards men, she shut the door on something that could’ve been great. Unfortunately, I’ve known many men who have said similarly destructive things about women… in front of women. Sometimes even to their face. Our words come from somewhere, you know.
And yet when they’re by themselves, they desperately want a closer relationship.
How can you want to get married, but still hang on to your issues towards men or women? It doesn’t make any sense. If you want a wife, you do realize that a wife is a woman… right? And if you have problems with women… it’s probably just not going to work out too well for you. We have to deal with our issues in this area. Otherwise, the root of bitterness will grow to corrupt many.
And what about your children? Sure, he may have been a dropkick of a man in your life, but what about your sons? What about our daughters? Heck, what about our friends? Our issues don’t just affect us.
Speaking of children…
Wanting to be a parent, but hating relationships
Many of us say that we want to be a father or a mother, but at the same time, we hold fast to how much we hate close relationships and romance.
Heather Barwick recently caused a massive stir in the news recently for posting an article saying that the children of the gay community are hurting. Recounting her own experience, she described her personal struggles with the fact that she was never given the option of being able to experience the love of a father and a mother, and that she felt she missed out on significant input from not having a man in that place in her life.
Her comments raise a number of issues, but I guess the one that’s really interesting with regards to this point is the presence of parents in a child’s life.
So many of our children are growing up, or have grown up, feeling like they haven’t seen a good relationship modeled to them, or getting the example or support they’ve needed. Not criticizing anyone because there are multitudes of circumstances and factors that affect this, but just stating that it is a reality that a growing percentage of us have to face.
And yet having known the difficulties of circumstances where we don’t have access to masculine and feminine inputs into our lives, we are still content to desire children, without giving any regard to our hatred or lack in the area of relationships.
Biologically, it still takes two to produce a child. And if we want to do our best, can I suggest we make sure we do everything we can to ensure our “two” is a strong union – for ourselves, and also for the children of our today and our tomorrow.
And our “two” will never be strong if we’re always running away or belittling this important area in our lives, especially if parenthood is part of your calling in life.
Judging others for the things we do ourselves
I know in my life that I’ve found one of my biggest hypocrisies is how hard I am on others for things that I’m just as guilty for, if not moreso. Perhaps the reason why we judge others so harshly in certain areas is because they are like a mirror of our own behaviour, causing us to see the very things we hate, serving as a reminder that we still have issues in different areas.
Not much else to say on that one.
Holding the faith, but hating the church
Imagine if my wife came up to me one day and said, “Hey Matt, I love you, but I hate your parents”. I guess all of us could understand a statement or an experience like that, but still, I imagine I would take it pretty personally. Why? Because my parents are important to me, and if you say that you love me, then I would hope that you would love the people that are important to me too, even if you don’t get along all the time. The fact that you don’t maybe means you don’t actually understand me at all. if you love me, learn to love what I love, especially the people that I love.
So why is it that people of faith say “I love God, but I hate the church”?
Saying one thing, but doing another
The ultimate end of our hypocrisy is this – our yes doesn’t always mean yes, and our no doesn’t always mean no. We say we’ll be there, then we’re not. We say we’ll stay committed, but we don’t. We swear we’ll never do it again, but we do it again.
Every single one of us is one decision away from stupid, probably already several decisions in to be honest, and it’s usually in going against the things we know to be right. I guess it’s just part of our fallen nature to go against the things we say.
And yet to fall back to that excuse would be a cop out from living the way we could. You know, in a world where we say what we mean, and we own up to it if we don’t.
We get so annoyed at the hypocrisy of others – what are we doing about the hypocrisy in our own lives? Remove the log before taking the speck out of your brother’s eye. And that goes double for me, too.
Just some contradictions of our lives I’ve been thinking about over the last week or so. Have you seen any of these used? Have you used any of these yourselves?