“For they preach, but they do not practice.”
From Matthew 23:1-12
I am convinced that my mom had issues with double standards. After hearing a television newscaster’s remark or reading an article in the newspaper, she often said, “Do as I say and not as I do.” She sometimes repeated this observation regarding situations at work. Apparently, her supervisor did not always exhibit the behavior he expected from his employees.
My mom tried to be fair in all of her interactions and she did not appreciate those who refused to do the same. Perhaps this is the reason my mom taught best by example. Though I recall her favorite sayings, I remember the things she did for my family and for me more vividly.
Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus is very direct in his teaching on this particular topic. The message is simple. Do the right thing regardless of what those “in charge” do themselves. It matters not that they preach and judge and engage in all of the right moves to play the game. Jesus reminds us that we are not in “the game.” We are in the midst of real life. And real life demands that we do our best, just as Jesus would, in spite of who is or is not watching us.
Can I be getting the hang of this, Jesus? Your lesson today makes perfect sense to me, and I’m going to do my best to live what I’ve learned. Stay with me, Lord, and I will try to stay with you.