Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Observation On Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy. Wikipedia defines it as
 "the claim or pretense of holding beliefs, feelings, standards, qualities, opinions, behaviors, virtues, motivations, or other characteristics that one does not in actual fact hold. It is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another.In Moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles."
Human beings are really good at hypocrisy. And it's not just something that unbelievers have a problem with, but Christians as well. How often have you heard someone say, "The Bible says X is a sin," but you know that they do that very thing when they think no one is looking? Let's face it: Society is stuck in the mire of hypocrisy. It's a disease that is often misdiagnosed as "parental prerogative" or "higher standards". The problem with this is three fold:

  1. People no longer trust each other.
  2. Their standards change with their life experience instead of with the Bible.
  3. Teenagers can't take it anymore and give up on the church and their "parent's religion".
Let's call it what it is, dear readers. When you say one thing, yet you do something totally different, that's hypocrisy.

In my own life I have experienced the detrimental effects of this state of being. When I was pretty young, we were visiting our missions training school, The Master's Mission, and we met a really neat family. Their oldest son was about my age and since we were the only ones in that age group, we spent a lot of time playing and watching our siblings together. He was a nice kid, but had a temper and was constantly picking on his siblings. Toward the end of our stay, I couldn't take it anymore. While he was picking on one of the younger kids, I told him off. I got mad, he got mad, and that was the end of our friendship. Many years later, after God got a hold on and shook some sense into me, I realized what I had done. The way he acted toward his brother and sisters was how I acted toward mine. His temper was just as bad as mine (actually, mine was worse). I began to wonder why I had done that. Then it hit me. When he was picking on his brother and sisters, I saw myself. I saw how badly I treated my own siblings. But instead of humbling myself and changing, I held him to a higher standard, then punished him for not meeting it. Oh, how my heart breaks to write this! 

If I had just realized that my real problem was myself, then I could have saved a friendship. I could have saved myself and others much heartache both then and later down the road. I could have nothing to regret.

But hypocrisy is blinding.

So next time someone says one thing and does another, ask yourself, "Why does it bother me?" Search your own heart to see if what is really bothering you is your own double-mindedness. Only then can you ask, "Do they even realize that they are doing it?" and help them. 

"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." -Matthew 7:5

Where are you playing the hypocrite? Think about it. 

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