images (3)The weather was nice enough yesterday that I tinkered with my boat.  The sunshine and warm air had me thinking about my dad.  He introduced me to fishing as soon as I could walk, and he taught me to set limb-lines to catch catfish.

It’s interesting to see how words like catfish morph and take on a whole new meaning.  Catfishing is now associated with words like, sham, forgery, lies, and counterfeit.  Catfishing is presently used to define the actions of people who use the internet to create a digital life with the intent to deceive

Unsuspecting people can be duped and led into a phony relationship with romantic overtures.  The innocent are manipulated by someone who is more cavalier than sincere.  They have embraced a two-faced rascal who is blinded by a single-minded desire for self-gratification.

This is the month to talk about two-faced catfishing rascals.   January is named after Janus who was the two-faced Roman god of gates and doorways.  Janus looked in opposite directions, and the month of January looks back on the old year and forward to the new.

Hypocritical people are two-faced or “Janus-faced.”  Jesus had a great disdain for the two-faced tactics of the religious leaders of His day.

To avoid this two-faced tendency, I suggest that you:

  • “Put off your former conduct . . . and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).”
  • To do this, you will need to, “Keep on being obedient to the Word, and not merely being hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone hears the word but is not obedient to it, he is like a man who looks at himself in a mirror and studies himself carefully, and then goes off and immediately forgets what he looks like (James 1:22-24).”

During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was called Janus-faced.  This less than handsome president responded: “If I had two faces, do you think I’d wear this one?”

Which face will you wear today?

The Picture of Health?

When a seemingly well person suddenly dies, acquaintances can be caught off guard and surprised.  The often-heard comment of, I thought he was the picture of health, can be  fallacious due to its external focus.

From the outside looking in, the individual had the appearance of looking healthy, great, and wonderful.  Below the surface, however, a parasite or virus had taken its deadly toll.  This scenario can be true of both an individual and an organization.

Take the recent case of J.P. Morgan.  While this investment bank has been considered to be the best of breed, this morning it reported losses of $4.4 billion in the second quarter of 2012.   When CEO Jamie Dimon learned of the lax and risky trading practices, he took steps to rectify the problem.  Individuals were dismissed and part of an investment office was reorganized.

Even though the reporting of these losses came as a surprise to the banking industry and the investment community, the problem had been festering below the surface for quite some time.

Incidents such as this remind me of the words of Jesus:  How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside they are full of greed and uncontrolled desires.  You blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cups and dishes so that the outside may also be clean (Mt 23:25-26).

When people are like the Pharisees, and they are satisfied with just appearing to be ethical and moral, there is a problem.  When we neglect to care for what’s inside of our cup, eventually a nasty and very obvious boil will make its appearance.

To lift our cup to enjoy the sweet taste of victory, we need to heed the words of Paul:  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (I Cor. 9:24-27).