Time and time again, especially when you’re inside a church, you’ll hear this word or similar to this word from a usually offended brother or sister: hypocrite. Plastic. Tupperware. Plastication (as a former student said in her comical act a year back). That’s how an offended church member describes his fellow church members in general. I’ve been a Baptist for 14 years. I’ve been in the youth ministry about the same years as that. I’ve been a youth leader for about 5 years. Based on my experience, I usually hear this line to the offended brother: “there are many hypocrites in the church”. Honestly, I myself have uttered the same line. Unfortunately, I even mentioned that to the person that I thought I could trust (my ex-girlfriend). Before I dig deeper into this topic, I looked for the definition of hypocrisy via Microsoft Encarta dictionary. Here they are:
somebody feigning high principles: somebody who gives a false appearance of having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings
[12th century. Via Old French ypocrite from, ultimately, Greek hupokritēs ‘actor, pretender’, from hupokrinesthai
hypocrisy [hi pókrəssi]
feigned high principles: the false claim to or pretence of having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings
It would be sheer hypocrisy for them to turn round and do what they criticise in others.
hypocritical act: an act or instance of hypocrisy
the legion hypocrisies of the party opposite
[12th century. Via Old French ypocrisie from, ultimately, Greek hupokrisis ‘acting a part’, from hupokrinesthai ‘to dispute subordinately, act a part’, literally ‘to separate under’, from krinein ‘to separate’.]
Judging to the definitions that were given, hypocrisy can be categorized under lying. By the way, these words, as you can see, are associated with the word “acting”. Going to the “lying” part, we all know that man may deny that he’s a wicked person but he can’t deny that he lied once in a while. Thus, if I’ll be a one-tract person, I can say that even those who say that church members are hypocrites is also a hypocrite. Why? He also lied one way or another. (hehehehehe). I’m trying to say that hypocrisy is only another tendency of man’s sinful nature. In the eyes of God, hypocrisy is as the same as murder. In what way? Sin doesn’t have a ranking. Lying under oath inside the court is as the same as telling false information to another person.
[Reality bites: we tend to rank sin. A good example is that inside a church, the most commonly announced public confession/apology is those people (especially guys) who committed fornication (especially if the woman squeals it). In the case of the old church, the bottom line of ex-communication is fornication. However, if the case is lying, using people, not paying of debts, being seen in public drunk, usually it is either confronted PRIVATELY. We have to accept this fact that men tend to rank sin.]
I do admit, there are people both in the old church (especially now) and in the new church that I don’t like. Still though, when I see them, I shook their hands. I smile, and, in fact, greet them. Why am I doing this? Strictly speaking, you may call that hypocrisy. However, how can you start liking the person that you don’t like if you don’t make a move? The first step in liking a person is to make the first move by doing so.
I have heard some people say that they are being real that’s why they ignore people that they don’t like. They are just being honest that’s why they don’t shake a person’s hand that they hate. They are being true that’s why they are being reckless, and things similar to that. Okay, I gave them that. They ARE honest. However, we are missing something. It may be honesty and being real and you got rid of hypocrisy, but you didn’t get rid of pride and arrogance (you are not humble enough to approach the person that you don’t like). You didn’t get rid of tactlessness and recklessness (when you’re angry you don’t put it in its right place). Bluntly, if your attitude is a so-called “I’m a real person. I don’t care what they say to me”, you may not be guilty of hypocrisy, but you are guilty of pride, arrogance, tactlessness, and recklessness. Hehehehehe, it’s like “4 for the price of 1”. Hehehehehehe.
The topic on hypocrisy and being “real” is a mind aching topic (that’s why the usual defense mechanism when one reads a post similar to this is indifference). I really intended it that way. I really intended that people who loves finger pointing and often mentioning “hypocrites” to have a headache (hehehehehe, mean). Okay, the intention of this post is to make a different mind set when entering a church (offended or not). There is a reality that we can’t change: people have weaknesses, including hypocrisy. Let’s try to minimize (if not avoid) our way of thinking that church people are hypocrites. Instead, let’s pray for our fellow members. After all, God will reward what they are doing wrong in private. Let’s be honest, but not arrogant and reckless. Love the sinner, not the sin. Hard, but by God’s grace…we can.