Hypocrite! Guilty as charged!
“‘They’re hypocrites. They’re such a bore.’ Well, come on in, there’s room for one more.”
Sometimes I wish that I had never met people like Rory Lewellyn or Keith Miller. Then I’d be able to take the words of Steve Taylor and use them as my own without getting caught. But, alas… the muscle-words above are not my own.
Can any of us truly say we are not a hypocrite? We claim standards and beliefs to which our own behavior does not conform. From the little things to the biggies… we all fall flat on our faces. Often. This is why we have children… so they can point out our inconsistencies.
It would be wrong of me to treat this subject too lightly though. Some of Jesus’ most pointed words were on this very subject. (Don’t just skip over these. See what He had to say).
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23)
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matthew 23:25)
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. (Matthew 23:27)
Jesus was talking here to a specific crowd. This crowd was more interested in how they appeared to others than they were in how they appeared to God. Friend, if this is you… I strongly suggest you do something. Get some help. Your future does not look promising!
However, there was also a crowd to whom Jesus was not directing his words. His hot tempered, regularly doubting, often selfish, sometimes arrogant, routinely two-faced disciples. A group of very flawed individuals whose direction and goal in life was to ultimately please their Lord. Did they always succeed? Uhh… NO. Were some of their hypocrisies major? Umm…YES. But the ultimate course and trajectory of their lives was this: “Lord, I believe in you. Lord, I want to please you. Lord, I want to obey you.” That’s the kind of heart God can work with. This is the type of hypocrisy that has always been covered by God’s grace… Not excused, but covered. The coverage wasn’t cheap, but it was paid for.
So, if you get accused of being a “Whitewashed Tomb” or of being part of a “Brood of Vipers” today, then here’s my advice:
1. Don’t just ignore the criticism. If there’s truth to it… fix it. It’s not a safe category to be in.
2. Reflect on the trajectory of your heart and life. Is your greatest desire to please God? If so, don’t get defensive about your hypocrisy. Accept the label and let it be a way for people to see God’s grace in action.
The difference isn’t who IS and who ISN’T a hypocrite. We’re all THAT! No one stands in perfection of everything they believe and stand for. The difference is in the repentant heart and then in God’s grace.
p.s. Rory & Keith, Truth is… Steve Taylor is the glue that binds our sacred hearts in unity and undying devotion to the greater cause of sarcasm. Thankful for both of you.