Christian hypocrisy provides Believers a rather different way in which they can assess their own levels of deceit. There are probably very few of us with lily-white hands.
This week from Coward's Castle, we have something different. An exercise for you to do before the Lord in your daily quiet-time.
The first, most of us can do without too much trouble.
The second is a little harder. If one dared, one might ask a few people to write down for us how they see us, and see how well it matches. I think we might be in for a few shocks!
And what about the last? Well now, that is really hard. It takes spiritual enlightenment to do that, and it is something we should perhaps regularly do before our Lord.
After all, He had the strongest condemnation for those in whom 1 and 3 do not even vaguely match. "By their fruits you shall know them."
There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.
Michel de Montaigne
We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.
Something that always astonishes me is how Christians find fault with playing bridge, for example, but chess is fine. Football is great, but dancing is straight from the devil. Fishing on the sabbath is definitely out, but a long stressful day of church activities, certainly no day of rest, is just okay.
One could go on. Beer is terrible but colas are no problem. The odd clandestine affair is okay, but a faithful homosexual relationship is the height of sin. Drunkenness is shocking, but gluttony and obesity are just fine.
St Paul teaches that the body is the temple of Holy Spirit. I say amen to that. Whether we eat or drink, are celibate or enjoy sex, how we treat the sabbath, may everything be done as unto the Lord.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test your heart. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? 2 Cor 13:5.
Are there any good people out there?
Most folk just love the way Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde enjoy poking fun at all and sundry, and mostly their barbs hit the nail on the head.
Why on earth is he poking fun at good people?
Are we just stuffy religious folk?
At first glance I rejected his wry comment; obviously I am far too stuffy, until I saw the real meaning behind it. If I think I am good, then I am the only righteous person on the planet. Of course I will be lonesome. For all have sinned, and fallen short; me too, alas. And who are you?
Are you also just a sinner in need of a saviour? Perhaps you are too good to be true. Hypocritical Christians flaunt the truth of the sinfulness of all humans, church-goers and the unbeliever alike.
Christian hypocrisy provides Believers one rather different way in which they can assess their own level of ethical thinking; their goodness, you might say.
"Be good and you will be lonesome."
Mark Twain, 1835-1910
"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious."
Now to put my oar in, very conscious of my own sins and weakness. After all these years of treating the ailments that beset us, I have to conclude that obesity and gluttony are two of the great sins. Why is that? It is because being severely overweight is a campaign of pain against yourself.
It is even more true if you call yourself a Christian; because your body is not your own. You have been bought with a price and you now belong to the Lord. Obesity is a sin against the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells.
Gluttony is the lesser cause of obesity; if you eat the wrong foods, and exercise too little you will certainly and perhaps unwittingly put on weight.
More usually we become obese not because we eat too much; it is because we consume a lot of refined carbohydrate. 120 years ago the average Western person ate 4kg of sugar per annum; today it is 107kg. Two very large bags, and more. And that is because we doctors do not take the time to educate our patients; and also since we do not want to offend you. It is easier to look the other way and pretend all is well in the state of Denmark, when we both know it is not.
So doctors would rather prescribe blood pressure medication than suggest ways in which you could lose weight. And statins to lower your cholesterol instead of talking about the foods that lower the blood fats naturally. Those like oats, garbanzo beans and apples; and salads too. Call it medical hypocrisy if you will.
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And write out a prescription for medication to lower your blood sugar, rather than point out the foods that are causing your type-two diabetes.
If you are serious about dealing with this weight issue, forget about all the fad diets; all of them. Instead start reading and find out about the term glycemic index. It is a measure of how quickly a particular carbohydrate that you have just eaten will raise your blood glucose and whether it will cause an insulin rush; that is the fat storage hormone.
Raised blood sugar is extremely bad for the capillaries so the body immediately turns it to adipose tissue. That is why undisciplined diabetics go blind, lose a lower limb and have heart attacks and strokes.
Okay, so I am blaming doctors for the fact you are obese; that is not entirely true is it? We humans are stubbornly difficult when it comes to changing our ways; so much so that St Francis of Assisi called his body Brother Ass. Perhaps your GP actually has confronted you several times and he has now given up on you, not wanting to lose a patient.
My first suggestion is to find out about glycemic index; and the second is to go and spend time with granny and gramps and see what they eat. As one great cardiac surgeon remarked after noticing that blood vessels are becoming redder and more angry despite margarine and statins, go back to what your grandparents ate, not what Mum and Dad taught you. Christian hypocrisy about food is a nightmare.
Obesity is a sin against your own frame; against yourself. And against God because, if you are a Christian, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Being fat will cause you much pain and cut short your life; it will make you a high risk patient when you get the coronavirus, as most of surely eventually will apparently.
Start avoiding foods with a high glycemic index and you are two-thirds of the way to getting those pounds off. Of course it will not be easy; but it is interesting that it takes only three weeks to re-educate your tongue. The alternative is too ghastly to contemplate; a life of pain and disability. Go back to questions 1 and 3. Are you really the person whom you perceive yourself to be?
One of the great joys of my life is forty years under the belt as a DC. Folk have asked if I have returned to my native South Africa to retire. That is impossible. I have had, and continue to have such pleasure from treating the multitude of conditions from which we humans suffer. But obesity is a tough one, even more so that smoking, and Christian hypocrisy abounds.
Imagine only yesterday the pleasure at hearing from a young mother that after only two treatments, her colicky 8-week old baby has gone from five hours a day of hollering to only one. Do you know the rule of three, Mum?
Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.
William James, psychologist and philosopher
Or from an 82-year old woman that the pain in the front of her thigh from a spondylolysthesis in her back has completely gone.
So can I retire? That is absurd; I would surely soon expire. This is the b
est of my many hobbies. How could I possibly
stop? But the arthritic hip of an old friend is going to be a challenge.
The neurosurgeon said he needed a back op, but the twit did not examine his undercarriage.
Am I being hypocritical? Or it is just judgemental? Nope, we are all twits periodically in the medical game, and with hindsight I have hung my head periodically too. How could I possibly not have considered that the weakness in a patient's quadriceps muscle could have been caused by diabetes? I forgot the all important question; can you get it up? Do you know what iatrogenic illness is? I have caused my own share.
Get those pounds off; there are many miseries that come with diabetes. One of them is the grim reaper when Covid-19 comes knocking on the door.
In a study of nearly 17,000 hospital patients with Covid-19 in the UK, those who were obese - with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 - had a 33% greater risk of dying than those who were not obese.
Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.
Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld, (1613-1680)
This above all:
To thine own self be true, for it must follow as dost the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
Shakespeare knew about Christian hypocrisy.
Christian hypocrisy abounds in the face of this killer.
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