Cognitive Dissonance

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Cognitive dissonance occurs when there is a disconnect between what we are saying and what we are actually doing. A simple way to say it is whether or not we are just talking the talk or actually walking the walk.

Sometimes this is done without really realizing what we are doing. Sometimes it is just an honest mistake. Other times it is just sheer hypocrisy.

A couple of cute things happened to high profile public figures recently. President Obama accepted an award for supporting government transparency. That is good, except that it was at a private ceremony from which the media and public were excluded!

In early June, Fox News ran a report on whether or not Sarah Palin would be running for president. The network mistakenly showed Tina Fey imitating Sarah Palin, instead of Palin herself. A producer at Fox has been disciplined, and any such repeats of the error would lead to dismissals.

Jesus really came down hard on people who were hypocrites. Read Matthew 6:1-18 and Matthew 23:2-36. The word hypocrite comes from the Greek drama when one actor could play more than one part by simply changing masks. Most of us have become pretty good at acting different ways in different situations.

The Pharisees were a major target for Jesus teachings. They enjoyed bragging about keeping all of the laws, but they didn’t keep the two most important laws of loving God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and loving their neighbor as themselves.

What I say is not nearly so important as what I do. I have heard my Dad say many times, “The best sermons are those sidewalk sermons that lay people preach everyday as they live their lives.” He would also say, “What I do speaks so loudly people don’t hear what I say.”

Consistent Christian behavior is one of the most needed commodities in today’s world. I have many areas in which I need to improve. Cognitive dissonance is a hindrance to kingdom work.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven..”

Christian growth is the process of converting cognitive dissonance into transformational living.

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