Psychologists have a term defining differing thoughts from our actions. In other words, if our behaviors, our actions are different from what is concurrent from our mind, we suffer from what is known as cognitive dissonance. The peril of this is the fact that after suffering from not being able to cope with our thoughts-actions, we, or at least our brain changes our attitude towards the action. In this way our mind is able to adapt to changing situations that are in conflict with basic values.
As Christians, we love to espouse the idea that we love all people. Naturally, we know this is a complete falsehood if not a down and out lie. As Christians we may attempt to love all people, but when it comes right down to it, we love probably, only a few.
Evidence of our failures are reflected in divorce and the many dastardly misdeeds committed by Christians every day. Even in our daily walk on earth as we pass the homeless or the destitute, whenever we fail to reach out to them: we rationalize the situation. We’ll lower their humanity by calling them drunks, or crack heads, or worthless bum who ought to get a job.
So then, it is clear that there are things we say as Christians and then again, things that we do. How about this question? When was the last time you sold everything you had and gave all to the poor? Probably not often if ever. Yet, we feel bad for the rich young ruler in the bible.
I suppose some would conclude that Christians are nothing more than mere hypocrites? I would contend that this is not the case at all. All we see is an expression of love from a people who are less than perfect. Christ was perfect on this earth and it is our claim, our aim to emulate Him.
In the pursuit of our emulation of our Lord, we forget how really mortal we are. In every sense of the word we are frail, lacking and unable to accommodate what Christ asks us to do. Moreover, it is my contention that all God really requires is for our willingness to serve people through his prescription of love.
And task then is first honesty. We should admit our limitations as people and expose ourselves as sinners and only as a disciple who desires to serve Christ, but who many times fails in the process.
The need to rationalize should not be an option. If we are honest to God and to our neighbor, then our thoughts will be in congruence with our actions. At this point, our dualistic nature will harmonize and be in parallel operations. In this way, we serve God and his creation in truth, in love, in patience, yet in honesty. The world then has no reason to point their finger at us in shame. Being real in our journey with Christ is important in order to reflect a testimony that is also real. Thus, we have cognitive agreement with thought and action.