Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2face

This is the season for the movie awards.Everybody is exposed to this movie craze in one way or the other.The media goes to all extents to cover it,the newspapers love talking about it and the critics make use of this opportunity to either puff up or crush a movie. Not only that, I keep running into people and conversations that passionately discuss about the movies.To top it all off I catch myself thinking about it.

My favorite one in the action genre for the year 2008 is without a doubt the Dark Knight. From the cinematographers to the actors, every single person has contributed to the huge success of this movie.

Every person (I know) who has seen this movie talks about
either Christian Bale’s character as the “Batman” or Heath
Ledger’s character as the psychopath villain, the “Joker.
Both of them deserve credit for their work, especially Heath
Ledger.

I remember jokingly telling my friends in the words of
Russell Peters, “If Heath Ledger doesn’t get an Oscar,
somebody’s gonna get a hurt real bad.” Seriously,
Ledger’s role as the Joker was so mind blowing that I
am sure you would agree with me in saying that he deserves
an Oscar for his convincing performance.

Having said this, what I found interesting is that it was
neither the “Batman” nor the “Joker” that kept me thinking
after I saw this movie. It was another character that was
overshadowed by the heroics of the good guy Batman and the
craziness of the bad guy Joker that stole my imagination.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I am talking about Harvey
Dent, a District Attorney and a friend of Batman in the
movie. After, the Joker’s scheme disfigures half of
his face with acid; Harvey Dent goes insane and becomes
the Two-Face. He is a great example of how a good guy
turns bad due to the circumstances and situations in his
life. He chooses “bad” over “good.” As a result he becomes
judgmental, angry and self obsessed. In other words, Harvey’s
life becomes a two faced tragedy.

Did you know that the Bible talks about “Two face?”

Well, it’s not in reference to a good guy’s face disfigured
by acid like in the movie the Dark Knight. But, it is in
reference to people who say they love God, but in all reality
they don’t. It is in reference to people who pray loudly in
public, fast, give, help and volunteer in a way that others
would take notice of them. They do all this in the name of
God but their hearts are far away from God. In living to
please the people they fail to please God. The word used to
refer to this action in the bible is hypocrisy.

What does Hypocrisy mean? It is derived from the Greek word
hypokrisis. The idea behind this word is someone who plays
a part on the stage or someone who puts on a mask to fake
reality.

The image here is of actors who play multiple roles with
the help of masks. When they say the comedy lines they would put
on a smiling mask. The people watching them on stage would respond
with laughter. Then they would switch to a sad mask and speak lines
of sadness which would bring tears to those who were watching.
The actor here was referred as a hypocrite. Although this term
initially meant something positive, overtime, it is believed,
this term took a negative meaning.

When Jesus used it, he was referring to people who were
pretending to be someone while actually they were someone else.
This kind of pretentious living is condemned in the bible.
Jesus did not hesitate to address people who wore masks in real
life. He did not tolerate false godliness or character. His
presence and His words exposed everyone who was two faced.

Today, we have a tendency to link hypocrisy with Christians.
I think it’s mostly because of Christ’s stance towards it. We
see hypocrisy in the words, attitudes and actions of people
who claim to know Christ. These are people who give lip service
to God, but their hearts are far away from God.

Imagine faking love towards God and people? Thinking about
it wants to make us puke, right? How can Christians fake love?

Well, Paul writes to the Roman Church “let love be without
hypocrisy” (Romans 12:9). There are Christians who actually
fake their love. They fake love towards God and towards people.
In doing this they fail to recognize that man sees the outside
while God sees what’s in the heart.

Now, think about the word “hypocrite.” Who comes to your mind
right away? Is it a Christian friend you know, a pastor, the
TV preacher, the church next door or the members of your own
family? Before we point our fingers at others I would
like us to consider something.

In James 1:23-25, we read that the Word of God is like a
mirror. When we read it we see our own reflection. When
we see our reflection in the mirror,do we see just one
face or do we see a nicely camouflaged two face?

If we do see a two face, then, seriously it is time to take
off our masks. We need to say “enough is enough” to our double
standard lives. This is our time to stop blaming people and
situations and be accountable to God for our own actions.

Jesus condemned the two faced people, especially those who
talked about love, purity and humility but who in actuality
cared mostly for their own well being instead of others. If
you and I are a follower of Jesus Christ, we need to check
what our reflection is like in the mirror of God’s word.

Today, you might be a leader, a pastor, an elder, someone who
serves faithfully, someone who claims to love God and others
or even someone who is shouting at others with anger and
frustration saying, "You two faces!"

I would like to ask you a soul searching question. Forget about
others for a moment. Are you a two face? If you are and if
I am, then God wants us to have a makeover.

The Apostle Paul writes,

"And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no
going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd.
They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost
touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can't
think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves
go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption
is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well
instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus.
Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance,
everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that
old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through.
Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of
life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside
and working itself into your conduct as God accurately
reproduces his character in you.

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies,
no more pretense."

(Ephesians 4:17-25, MSG)




Gracious God,

We come before you just as we are. Help us to acknowledge
that we are people who are two faced. Help us get rid of
our masks and be authentic people. Help us to be honest
with our self and with one another.

Today, we say no to our two face. We refuse to be like
actors on stage who desire to fill our self with people’s
praise and applause. Help us not to make a big scene when
we pray, fast, give, volunteer or love.

Help us not to expect anything in return when we love,
serve and give. Help us to do it for the very fact that
we love you. And, when praise comes our way, help us to
give you the credit for everything.

Amen.

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