Oxford Dictionaries.com defines duality as: “An instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something; a dualism.” To me duality or dualism can be explained through this example, if I point at my wife’s pregnant belly and exclaim, “I did that,” it’s wrong. If my wife, during labour, points at her belly and exclaims in a much more aggressive and angry tone, “you did this,” it’s not wrong.
We all practice duality and for the most part it’s okay.
Our lives are full of duality. The approach we take is often dictated by the situation we face. We may act totally opposite from situation to situation. Our appearance, language or subject matter varies enough from interaction to interaction that it would not be unwarranted to say that we live in contrast or even contradiction. We are often different versions of the same person in different situations.
Back to our example of duality. My actions that created a new life were actions only to be shared between my wife and I. My interactions with other people are different. I would even suggest that they are opposite to my interactions with my wife. My words and my physical contact in relationships outside of my marriage contrast my words and physical contact in my marriage. It is a duality, two differing concepts or aspects of relationship and it’s okay.
We all practice duality and sometimes it’s not okay.
Situations may define how we respond but the range of possibilities are always defined by who we are. If you want to peek into who you really are, compare the words you say and the actions you take in each situation and then ask yourself why they differ. If your words or actions differ considerably based creating an appearance that contrasts with who you really are, you are going beyond different versions of the same person to create a whole new persona.
Who we are and how we want to be perceived should only differ if how we want to be perceived is in line with the perfection of Jesus Christ and who we are is undergoing the process of being transformed into His likeness. This is a duality but it is not duality for the purpose of deception and personal advancement but rather the action of forcing our natural sinfulness into submission.
It is different when we change our actions and our words in an attempt to create a persona that is outside of who we should be striving to be when we claim to be a Christian. To act Christ-like when it furthers our agenda and then deny Him in our words and actions to further a different agenda is to practice duality and it’s not okay.
To never be tempted to practice duality is even worse.
When those who call themselves Christians look nothing like the Christ they claim to follow we are in trouble. When those who call themselves Christians do not call out those who call themselves Christians for looking nothing like the Christ they claim to follow we are in trouble. When the famous or influential claim to follow Christ but their actions or their politics, the words in the music they release or the content of the films they act in look nothing like the Christ they claim to follow and yet we still hold them up as ambassadors of our faith, we are in trouble. People, we are in a lot of trouble.
We aren’t even faking it anymore.
Duality has been abandoned, not because people have realized that we need to be transformed into people living out who we are as Christ followers; duality has been abandoned because we have settled for unChrist-like behaviour. Under the concept of grace and the extension of mercy we no longer teach becoming a new creation but rather are thrilled just to have someone call themselves a Christian.
I am not suggesting that duality, looking like a Christian around your Christian friends and living in a worldly manner the rest of the time is a good thing, but when people don’t even see the need to fake it something has gone wrong with the message we are communicating.
More helpful hints for employing proper duality.
Do not laugh and point at a funeral no matter how bad the makeup job it on the deceased.
Don’t make snoring noises or fake cough the word “boring” no matter how bad the sermon is.
Do not point out the physical shortcomings of your wife or say it looks good if the clothing she tries on makes her look fat. Instead, suggest another style or even store no matter how much you just want her to buy something so you can get home.
Do not comment on the ugliness of a newborn baby even if they look like an alien, the cone head is temporary but the concussion you suffer may have lifelong implications.
How you feel and how you react don’t always have to match!