“You Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.” Luke 11:39

The Inside of the Cup

One day, I went to the post office to mail a book to someone. I wrapped the gift, wrote out a card and stuck it inside the book, and added a piece of stiff cardboard so the paperback would not bend in transit. When I went to the counter, I said, “It’s just a book,” knowing there was a special book rate for “just a book.”

The man behind the counter said, “I can give you the special book rate if you promise that it is just a book.” I answered, “Yes, it’s just a book.” A brief thought crossed my mind that the card was barely adding any weight—it wasn’t even in an envelope! And the regular postage rate for non-book mailing would have been the cost of the book itself!

But I paid the cost in a different way—in my conscience. And the cost was much more than it would have been if I had told the truth. I began to picture Jesus standing at that counter mailing a book. That lie wouldn’t have slipped so easily off His tongue, nor would He have counted the cost of truth-telling. The money would have been a non-issue. He would have said, “There is a card in the book, and a piece of cardboard to hold the book flat.”

The inside of my cup—my heart—was dirty. Had I been merely wearing a Christian mask? Was I putting on a show in life that simply didn’t show the inside of me? I realized that, at least in that moment, I was a hypocrite. This was not the enemy accusing me—it was the loving Spirit of the living God inside me stirring me up to live in truth, in righteousness, in holiness. He was urging me to live as the image-bearer of God Himself.

Small choices matter in a huge way. They add up. Inconsequential lies become easier to tell when we see that “nothing bad happened” because of them. The future Me is standing on the foundation of daily small choices. I will be what I am becoming at this moment. The sum of What I Do Today equals Who I Will Be Tomorrow. If I continue in hypocrisy, I will know it, and everyone else will eventually know it, too.

And so I repent in dust and ashes. The Lord faithfully shows me the inside of my cup, and I submit to Him for cleansing.

“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you” (Philippians 3:15).

“Father, we submit to Your cleansing blood. Show us the errors of our ways and put us on Your path of holy living. Amen.”