Most of us have pretended at some point in our lives to be someone or something that we are not. As children we most likely pretended to be someone great like a superhero or an astronaut or a schoolteacher or a doctor. I remember watching the Miss America pageant growing up and afterwards, I would find something that resembled a crown and walk through the house smiling and waving pretending that I was the new Miss America. I also remember getting a notebook that I made into a grade book for my pretend students in my class. I’d pretend to teach math and English (my favorite subjects) and then I’d grade pretend papers from the students. I thought I was the best teacher in the world. As much as I enjoyed pretending during my childhood, I am thankful it was not my reality. I had the opportunity after Brady and I got married to actually substitute teach in the elementary school where I worked in the office. I can honestly say that I am so glad that I did not pursue the career of a teacher. They truly have one of the hardest jobs and I am thankful for those that have that calling.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, the innocence of pretending is lost. Somehow, it turns into a destructive way to hide the parts of us that we are ashamed of; therefore, we pose as someone greater than ourselves. God warns us against pretending to be something we are not-especially when we pretend to be spiritually great. True authenticity comes from finding your real value in God’s eyes and being honest with yourself and others. It is better to be honest about your failures than to lie about your successes.
Why do we pretend to be something or someone we are not?
1. Pride – we all want to look honorable and important in the eyes of others.
2. Embarrassment – when we are embarrassed to admit what we did, we may be tempted to deceive others into thinking that what we did was right.
3. Flattery – we may use flattery to pretend we like someone in order to get something from them.
4. Selfishness – we may disguise our true motives in order to get what we want.
If we continue to go down this path, we eventually fool ourselves into thinking our motives are sincere, and worse yet, we think that God does, too.
Proverbs 20:23 “The Lord detests double standards; He is not pleased by dishonest scales.” God is opposed to hypocrisy! Hypocrisy shows the heart of dishonesty. “1 Peter 2:1 “Get rid of all…deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.” Much of pretending grows out of deceit, which is incredibly harmful to your spiritual growth.
After awhile, a habit of deceitful pretending becomes common and even acceptable to you, dulling and even killing your conscience. Eventually deceivers deceive themselves, cutting them off from truth.
Take off the mask and stop pretending! Psalm 119:29 “Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.” We must be diligent in studying His word. It illuminates deceit and teaches us how to live honestly and transparently. Psalm 120:2 “Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people.” Watch the friends you keep. Deceitful friends will lead you deeper into deceit. After having personally walked through a few deceitful relationships, I am very cautious of who I let in to share life. That’s why I am not a person who needs a ton of close friends. Give me two close friends and I’m content. Romans 12:3 “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” A good start to conquer pride is to ask honest friends to give you a realistic account of your life and actions. Be ready to receive criticism without making excuses or becoming defensive. Be ready to make the change to becoming the real you!
(Excerpts taken from Life’s Questions by Beers and Beers.)