What percentage of Americans would you guess actually trust the government in Washington to do what is right at least most of the time? According to the Pew Research Center, it has been at about 17% during the previous administration and during this present one. That puts public trust of government at near historic lows. We don’t have to guess at what effect this cynicism has had on national unity because the distrust and animosity among the citizenry is almost palpable. The important thing to realize is that what we are looking at is not just a problem of the political left or right. It is a human problem.
The expression “two-faced” is one we are very familiar with. A two-faced person is one who acts one way in a certain situation and then in an opposite manner in other situations. It is much the same as a politician who relies on polling data in order to make a public statement about what he or she believes. They change with the wind, break trust and ultimately cause division. The two-faced can pretend to be your friend to your face and then say derogatory things about you as quickly as you leave the room. They are insincere, shallow individuals that have their own best interests at heart.
Being two-faced is a human problem that is spiritual in nature, and it affects the Church just as surely as it does the world. The Apostle James said, “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Being double minded and two-faced are synonymous concepts. Such individuals cannot be trusted by God or man because they are unstable in character. Isaiah described them this way, “Therefore the Lord said: ‘Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,’” (Isaiah 29:13). For some (all of us at one time or another), it is easy to say the right thing and yet have removed our heart and will from God. How can such a thing happen, sometimes seemingly almost without thought?
Spiritual two-facedness can slide right through the back door of our minds in the absence of selfless thought. Selfish thought invites compromise whereby we see how close we can get to evil — we know the process by heart. In a two-faced frame of mind, we can pretend to be God’s friend when in the presence of other believers and then in their absence, speak derogatorily of God by choosing our own will over His and following whatever compromise is so heavily endorsed by the world. It is so easy in the absence of selfless thought to change with the wind, break trust, and thereby cause division within the Church as we dishonor God.
What then, are we to do? James went on to say, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Repentance is the first step in becoming single-faced. In the same vein of thought, the Apostle Paul then says, “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). We are to strive to live our lives above reproach! That can only be done by not only avoiding compromise but by avoiding the very appearance of it! We are to live exemplary lives in thought and action — emphasis on thought. Regarding thought Paul wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). The apostle’s advice was inspired by God. It is true that we become what we think, but let’s add something equally true to that, as well. We need to become a good thing for others to think about. A single-faced person will become a catalyst for trust, unity, and growth within Christ’s body.
Our common question then is, “Am I helping to instill trust in God’s Church right now?”