You don’t have to have a degree in sociology (the study of human nature) to know hypocrisy when you see it. Back when I was a freshman in high school, my friend Johnny saw some of the “pious” elders in my dad’s church go outside and smoke on the church steps after service. These were the same elders who wouldn’t do anything to help when my dad told them about rats we found in our parsonage. Johnny saw the double standard and told me it didn’t look very good. He was right. This was one of the reasons why I didn’t want to have anything to do with the church as a young person. Should we be surprised when many young people are leaving churches for the same reason today?

We might not think kids are paying us any attention, but the fact is they’re watching and listening more than we realize. They’re also taking notes. They don’t turn a blind eye to our inconsistencies. (This is especially important for Christian parents who want to train their kids to serve the Lord. When we tell them not to lie, they will watch us to see if we are going to be honest. When we tell them not to say unkind things about their friends, they will listen to the things we say about our boss and co-workers.) Everything we do is under a microscope. The consistency in our lives, or the lack of it, may be a factor in a young person’s decision to serve Christ when he or she becomes an adult.

If your life was checked for consistency, how well would it be rated on a scale of 1 to 10? To rate yourself higher, would there be some activities you would have to quit doing in private? Would you make fewer promises you were unable to keep? Would you tell the truth more often? Would you visit the same places or associate with the same friends? Would you treat people from other cultures any differently? Whether you rate yourself or not, there is someone who is rating you; someone who is watching your actions and listening to your words; someone who knows hypocrisy — and integrity — when they see it; someone who is making decisions about the future of their own spiritual life because of what they see in your life. Determine that you won’t let them down.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder