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The Troublesome Gap Between Rhetoric & Reality

Each of us has a gap between our Rhetoric and our Reality. In some cases, the distance between the two is enormous. Remember the Jerusalem crowds shouting “Hosanna” one moment and “Crucify Him” just a few days later? There was quite a gap between their enthusiastic Rhetoric on Palm Sunday and the Reality of their hearts when Jesus was on trial.


How can we explain such big gaps between Rhetoric and Reality? Sometimes this is simple hypocrisy, reminiscent of politicians who persuade voters with lofty promises they have no intention of keeping.


At other times, there’s a major problem with self-awareness. We’ve all met people who sincerely believe their glowing press clippings—the Rhetoric—but are oblivious to the Reality of their situation. That’s why we all need a few honest friends in our life, those who will lovingly reveal our blind spots (Ephesians 4:15).


This is not a minor issue. When there’s a large gap between a believer’s profession and their possession, the stinging words of Romans 2:24 come into play: “God’s name is blasphemed among [unbelievers] because of you.” Ouch.


But sometimes the gap is completely well-intentioned, a matter of “confessing the Word” when we aren’t yet walking in what it promises. We tell people we’re healed and then sneeze all over them. Or we proclaim that God has touched our aching back, but we’re still bent over like a Neanderthal. Whatever maladies we still face are just “lying symptoms,” we like to tell people.


In the case of Mephibosheth, there was a wide chasm between his calling as a prince and his deplorable experience living in the squalor of Lo Debar (2 Samuel 9). But this huge gap between the Rhetoric of his calling and the Reality of his experience was suddenly and dramatically bridged by three of the most beautiful words in the Bible: “I WILL RESTORE” (v. 7). This is God’s powerful message to us as well, no matter how wide the gap may be right now.


Often the gaps we face are not the result of any misdeeds or lack of effort on our part. Abram (“exalted father”) was renamed Abraham (“father of a multitude”). All the while, he and Sarah had no children, though they had tried for many years.


What a lesson! Often it is humanly impossible to bridge the gap between our calling and our experience. We need a miracle from God in order to finally get our “Isaac.”


And be clear on this: The first step in transformation is being honest with yourself and recognizing your need.


What gaps are you facing? What Realities in your life are falling short of your Rhetoric? Once you’ve truly faced the gaps, you can believe God for healing and restoration. But transformation will remain elusive if you insist on putting your head in the sand and pretending there aren’t any gaps to bridge.


Your turnaround can start today. Leaving behind any frustrations or failures in your past, you can press on toward God’s best for your life (Philippians 3:12-14). No, this doesn’t mean you will suddenly be perfect. But it does mean your new Reality will become much more in line with your Rhetoric. And that will bring peace, wonderful peace.



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Posted by David Young on July 23, 2020 at 12:11pm — 1 Comment


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