Nobody likes a person who says one thing and does another. God detests hypocrites and Jesus pronounced woes on Pharisees. Even the prophet Jonah lived a life of contradiction. He disobeyed God and then claimed to fear the Lord. He asked to be thrown overboard and then prayed for life. After thanking God for having mercy and saving him, he became angry at God for extending that same mercy to the people of Nineveh. In fact, he became so angry that he pleaded for death, forgetting that he had just begged for life!
As a prophet, Jonah’s job was to preach God’s message. His name itself means “dove,” a creature symbolic of peace and used for delivering messages. However, Jonah refused to preach and forfeited his peace for anger. The entire book of Jonah tells of how God tries to correct his life of contradiction.
As a Christian, our job is to follow Jesus’ words. However, do we live a life of contradiction? I remember my Religious Education (RE) student once rebuked me for using an inappropriate word, adding, “That’s not what Christians should say.” That forced me to reconsider whether I truly live up to the name.
When living with other church brothers during college, we taped up a paper on the wall that read: “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your RE students doing.” It served as a reminder that we are to practice what we preach. Let’s examine our lives and remove any hypocrisy we may find.
Questions for Reflection:
1. Can we say that we behave like true Christians without any hesitation or doubt?
2. Think about what we say to our friends, family, and church members and whether we follow through.
3. Is there any aspect of our lives that contradicts our roles as Christians?