The Subtlety of Hypocrisy

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

Happy Monday (now Wednesday lol, sometimes I have to let these things marinate)!! I hope this finds you well. If I’m honest, I was supposed to write this Sunday night but my eyes were crossing from tiredness. I was a big kid on Saturday and now I’m paying for it by still being man down two days later.

So let me make you all laugh at my pain. Have you ever had a swollen taste bud? I usually get one pretty regularly because I like my food hot and I’ve always been a little too impatient at times to let it cool off long enough to actually be edible. But I think I finally learned my lesson after this tastebud being swollen for at least 4 days now. Fortunately no one can see it but it sure feels weird. (As of Wednesday, my tastebuds have returned to normal lolol.)

To tie my embarrassing moment of learning a lesson into this post, I think I’ve finally learned my lesson on how hypocrisy is still thriving in today’s culture, because much like how I need to learn to be patient and let my food cool or eat it lukewarm, I need to learn to tune my mind into the sneaky, nuanced ways that hypocrisy comes in and controls us. We are all guilty of hypocrisy at some point or another. At least I have been — and sadly I still am and I pray daily to be aware of it and to turn away from it. Here are some of my examples. So last week I was driving my son to daycare I think and some person darts across three lanes to get in front of me and slow down. I got mad and judged them as a bad driver. Then a couple days later, I did the same thing by getting over into the right lane then slowing down in front of someone to get off the exit because I was distracted by the GPS and almost missed the exit. And immediately the words I said about the other driver came back to me and I asked God to forgive me when I realized what I had done.

Or even yesterday, I was in the church parking lot about to get out of my truck and I saw some younger girls dressed in clothes that in my eyes at that moment were inappropriate for church. But IMMEDIATELY I caught myself and God reminded me of my conversation with Him about how Jesus hung out with men and women perceived as sinners because of their occupations and didn’t judge their clothes, much less them. So I asked for forgiveness again. And I know I’ve done things like this countless times before, but unaware. Regardless, things like this aren’t pleasing to God. Jesus constantly called out the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and his words to them are his words to us and a call to change. The Bible says we are to come to God with a broken and contrite heart like David and to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength; it did not say that we had to be perfect or even dressed in Sunday’s best to do that. I know for me, a lot of my judgments of others are the direct result of my upbringing and attendance in a Baptist church. I clung to those traditions as if that were the definition of church. Over time and with growth, I’ve learned that the building itself and the rules that have been put in place there have nothing to do with fellowship as defined by the early church (no, I’m not telling you to abandon church). However, most important is that your relationship with God is what should carry heavier weight.

Let me be real transparent here with my own experiences. I didn’t want people judging me for having a baby out of wedlock and raising my child alone but in the past I judged others for similar plights. You may be guilty of this too. You don’t want people to judge you for drinking and partying, but you judge the gambler (or vice versa). You don’t want people to judge you for staying in that relationship beyond it’s expiration, but you judge people for casual sex or committing adultery or you definitely gossip about them. You don’t want people to judge you for continuing to be manipulated, but you judge people that do the manipulation. You judge people for maintaining unhealthy friendships and relationships but you have some of your own. You tell others how to live their lives knowing you are only a blow of the wind away from where you used to be. You judge people that smoke, lie, cheat, scheme, that are where you used to be, but you don’t reach back to help them or you levy your expectations on them instead of allowing God to continue His work (FYI, if you haven’t learned it yet — it definitely took me a while — it is better when God does a thing than your nagging because God’s work is complete and permanent). You preach at people for living in ways you do not but you overlook your own sins and shortcomings. You don’t pray for them because maybe secretly it empowers you to have someone to look down on. You don’t share your testimony, or if you do, you share it in a way that allows you to judge others or point the finger at them for still doing what you used to do when it was only God (via a devastating break-up or some other catalyst) that delivered you.

There IS a difference between correcting your brother in love and casting judgment. Judgment ultimately points to an issue within you — your pride and puffery of yourself — whereas the former is Holy Spirit inspired and done of God. It is much like Nathan’s correction of David and nothing like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.

You probably wouldn’t read those examples as hypocrisy. You probably do not think turning your nose up at them or judging someone else’s parenting style is hypocritical if on the surface your family is picture perfect (or any of the above examples will do here). But what if the curtains were pulled and the blinds were opened and the spotlight was on your hidden sin allowing everyone to see inside?

Hypocrisy IS subtle. Why? Because you’ve been acting a way for so long you don’t see the errors in your behavior. For example, you don’t hear how when you talk with friends or family about Ms. So and So or Mr. Such and Such that you are gossiping but you turn around and condemn others that do. You judge others for unhealthy relationships all the while you are still enabling others. Let’s be honest, so often we are no different beneath the surface than those we judge. The sadder truth is we do not realize that God is able and fully capable of using anyone regardless of their form of sin and that He is fully able and capable to deliver that person in the midst of their sin. We also forget that salvation is a process and processes take time!

My purpose in sharing today is to bring to light some of the things we do in the church and life as "Christians" that are detrimental to our faith walks. It’s not what traditionalists would call a big sin, but it is usually the little sins that create great divides between us and God. And of course, God hates hypocrisy!

Look back at yourself and be honest…and if you are disappointed in what you see, repent and ask God to make you more aware of the subtle things you do that push you further away from Him. Perhaps you will be surprised at what He shows you and be sparked to change. I do not want you to feel sorry for yourself, but to see the real you with the blinders removed so that God can take that and use that for His glory. God’s ability to transform and change us is far beyond anything we could ever comprehend or fathom. And yes, God wants to use everything and He will if you allow it. GN!

God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me. Psalm 51:10
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