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The image many Americans have of John Wayne is that he was macho — brave and powerful. But based on a book by Gary Wills, the movies invented that image of him. In reality, he bypassed serving in World War II so he could focus on his career, and he hated horses. Jeremiah 7 tells us that God’s ancient people projected a false image of integrity when, in fact, they were hypocrites. God told Jeremiah to “Go to the entrance of the LORD’S Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! “Do you think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie… and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!—only to go right back to all those evils again? I will be merciful if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.” When we blatantly violate God’s moral standards, then try to cover up our sins with pious worship, God knows. He calls us always to be people of integrity, to admit our failures and allow Him to forgive us. He will do so because He loves us and Jesus has already paid our sin debt when He died on the cross.
It’s a good reminder that there’s oftentimes more than meets the eye… for us, but not for God.