My friend talked about a lot of things. He talked a lot about hypocrites. I was a perfect audience.
He gets very passionate about hypocrites in church. They say they will do things and they don’t. They are supposed to be caring and they aren’t. They tell other people to live a certain way and they themselves don’t.
His response is to not go to church, to not be seen in the same room on Sunday morning with people who lie.
He isn’t alone in his passion. Hypocrites are a frequent reason for not going to church.
Hypocrites are everywhere there is a gap between what people say and what they do. Everywhere there are people, there are hypocrites. Somehow, when it comes to church, we get really upset.
I’ve thought a lot about hypocrisy. I’m wondering if the reason we react with such a visceral reaction is that we want what “they” say “they” believe to be true. And we feel betrayed when “they” fail to live up to expectation. (I also think that part of it is, “They hollered at me and then they live like that?”)
Jesus tells a story about “Bob” and “Helen”. “Bob” looks at “Helen” and is concerned about a speck in her eye. He doesn’t notice that there is a plank in his eye. He even says, “Let me help you get that speck out of your eye.” And Jesus says what everyone listening to his story says. “First take the plank out of your eye. Then you can see the speck.”
Actually, what he says is “Hypocrite, first take the plank out.”
Jesus had no problem pointing out hypocrisy. He devoted his life to showing how words and actions can align. And then says, “Follow.” That we don’t doesn’t make him wrong.