Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Not Quite Right

Once in a great while, on a cold night, when the moon is bright and the snow is falling unabated, I like to sit by the window, watch it all unfold, and sip a cup of warm milk and honey. I know, edgy, rebellious even, but it is what it is. I’m a middle-aged man who’s been married to the same woman for twenty years, has two daughters and a mortgage, so it would be a hard sell for me to tell you I drink gasoline straight from the pump.

Yes, I like warm milk and honey, and I don’t care who knows it. It may be because it’s what my mother used to make for me when I was young, perhaps the nostalgia of it is more profound than first considered, but it’s one of those things that calms me, and for a few minutes, staring out that window watching snowflakes fall to the earth, all is right with the world.

Last winter, around the tail end of February we were having one of those nights, the girls were already asleep, and the wife was doing some work, so I went into the kitchen, warmed up some milk, then noticed a cup on the counter. It looked clean, so I poured the milk into it, squeezed some honey out of the bottle, gave it a good stir, and went to sit by the window and watch the snow.

From the start, something seemed off. Something wasn’t quite right. With each sip, there was a faint flavor to the milk that ought not to have been there, something that made my taste buds react and spoiled the entire experience.

I tried a few more sips, but still, the faint flavor of something that I knew shouldn’t be there was evident. I walked into the kitchen, intending to dump the milk into the sink when my wife noticed the cup I was holding.

“Did you rinse the cup before you put the milk in?” she asked.

“No,” I answered. “It seemed clean, and it was on the counter.”

“I just had hot tea and lemon in that cup,” my wife said. “Did something taste off?”

I nodded in the affirmative, went to the sink, dumped out the milk, rinsed the cup, and put it on the rack. Even though the cup seemed clean to the naked eye, it still had enough of the lemon residue to make the milk taste different than it ought.

Whenever you hear someone bloviating endlessly about how someone else is not righteous enough, saintly enough, up to their standards of decorum and piety, but something doesn’t feel quite right, when something is throwing off the entire flavor profile and making their words ring hollow, it’s hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy and self-righteous pontificating go together about as well as milk and lemon. Some people will choke it down because they’re hoping it gets better as they get to the bottom of the cup, but it won’t, it never does.

Funny thing how the only one without sin who was within His rights to cast the first stone didn’t, and how some folks today who are demonstrably guilty of the selfsame thing they are pointing out in others who never claimed to be spiritual authorities, preachers, or teachers, as they have.

A standard is no longer a standard when seeped in hypocrisy. Better to keep silent and repent of our own misdeeds than sanctimoniously declare that the mere consideration that someone’s past does not define their present or determine their future is Ichabod, especially when the person in question isn’t in spiritual authority over anyone. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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