Am I? I had to ask God, “Am I a hypocrite?” This isn’t a question we should be afraid of although Jesus was quite stern when He said:
“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans'” (Matthew 15:7-9).
I was prompted to ask myself this question after I commented on a Facebook post from a young man who is an intern in our ministry. He had shared a picture of an arm tattoo with beautiful imagery and commented that it spoke to him. That’s what art does–a picture is worth a thousand words. I personally don’t have any tattoos but I have many friends who do. My motto has always been if you have some, ok… but don’t get anymore. Let your words and life speak for you.
I noticed a good friend commented on his Facebook post something along these same lines, so as a mama in general and a mama in our ministry, I shared as well that I thought he was a bright light without it. Then I got off Facebook and went to my son’s ballgame. On the way home, I saw he had deleted his original post and added a new one apologizing if he offended any Christians for sharing his desire for a tattoo, with a second apology to non-believers who may have been put off by the argument. (I must have missed that part).
I felt bad for him because although I have many reasons for encouraging him not to get a tattoo, strife is of greater consequence and he recognized that. I commented again–only to delete my comment altogether within a few minutes. Why? Because the bandwagon started again and I wanted off. I think of Facebook as a group standing around talking and if I don’t like the conversation, I leave.
And that’s when I asked myself: Am I a hypocrite?
I was in the conversation, sharing my sincere (and what I thought was non-confrontal) thoughts only to step away later. When I asked the Lord this question, He answered like He always does: Look in My Word. So I did:
“Stop judging so you will not be judged. Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you. So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer’s eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to another believer, ‘Let me take the piece of sawdust out of your eye,’ when you have a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer’s eye. Don’t give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls to pigs. Otherwise, they will trample them and then tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:1-6).
I’ve read this before and I understand the wisdom in these instructions. But I had never seen the connection between judging and being torn apart by those who don’t want wisdom. Our intern is a bright young man with a bright future. He showed more wisdom than most who shared comments on his posts. As for the rest of us, we have to ask ourselves if we answered out of wisdom or pride?
Webster’s says a hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions contradict stated beliefs.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I have a sincere love for God’s Word and I hope my actions speak louder than my words. But nonetheless, my heart was saddened at the bandwagon of Christians who will fight to make a point –even blasting other Christians. I think Jesus would say, “You hypocrite!” Where is love? Where is wisdom? Where is common sense?
First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will have perfect clarity to help remove a speck from your brother’s eye. And be careful of giving your wisdom to those who will trample it and then turn and tear you to pieces.
I’ve definitely been a hypocrite at some point or another, but it’s not in my heart to be one. As God’s children, the righteousness of Christ, it’s good to check ourselves from time to time. It’s not hypocritical to speak up and then step away when things go sour. [Tweet “What’s hypocritical is to trample others to pieces and then boast of our love.”]
Lord, help us answer this question.