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The big disconnect
- Jacob Ninan
After Lazarus was raised from the dead Mary, his sister, took some very expensive perfume and anointed Jesus' feet. Judas Iscariot immediately commented that the money should not have been wasted like this but given to the poor (Jn.12:4,5). What would you think of this suggestion if you heard it? Commendable, how true, how considerate? But the fact of the matter was that Judas was not at all being considerate to the poor but he had designs on that money (v.6)! What a great disconnect between his outward behaviour and inner thoughts! In modern language we would say Judas had a secret agenda behind what appeared to be a nice philanthropic attitude.
Of course the world, the so-called Christian world too, is full of this. We have to take care not to be fooled by what people profess on the outside, because they may be acting out of self interests. Paul himself was well aware of this (Php.2:20,21). It is not about being suspicious about everyone but keeping our eyes open. Jesus knew what was in man and would not entrust Himself to anybody easily (Jn.2:24,25). It is only by getting to know the real person behind the appearances that we can attempt to identify their authenticity.
But the more important thing is to make sure that we cleanse ourselves of any such disconnects between our inner life and what we profess outside. Let us start from a point where we assume that there may be such situations in our life which we may or may not be aware of. If we just assume that our conscience is clear and therefore everything is fine with us, we are not likely to discover the sins that are hidden inside us (Ps.19:12). We must realise that we have tremendous capacities to deceive ourselves (Je.17:9), and we can easily justify to ourselves and to others how we are doing something for God's glory when we are trying to hide the selfish motives behind our actions. A man who is out to make more money can say he is doing it to be able to give more for God's work, and the one who wants to divorce his wife in order to marry someone else can say God told him to do so! We need to make an honest attempt to sit before God and be open to His Holy Spirit who alone can lead us into all the truth about ourselves (Jn.16:13). The process of cleansing has to start from there, by asking God to reveal to us our hidden sins (hidden to ourselves) especially in the area of ulterior motives (Ps.139:23,24).
Even though we are not going to be absolutely perfect this side of eternity, that is the goal towards which we run. The more we love God, the more we want to be like Him and we will cleanse ourselves (1Jn.3:3). We tend to be more careful with sins others can recognise easily as sin, but not so careful with 'hidden' motives and imaginations. But these are what are more important to God (1Co.4:5). The more we try to hide, the more God will take it on Himself to reveal them (Lk.8:17). But if we confess our sins He will forgive and take us further with Him.