Hypocrisy just makes us mad doesn’t it? Politicians speaking of tightened belts, while endorsing payments for themselves. There is the hypocrisy of some media figures speaking of truth and objectivity, while at the same time advancing a personal or political agenda with inaccurate or selective reporting. There is the hypocrisy of some doctors supposedly committed to the Hippocratic Oath, while at the same time advocating killing. It makes us mad when we see examples of Police who are supposed to be guardians, caught in corruption or carelessness... and then there are examples of hypocritical clergy, preaching and standing for morality while living out the worst kinds of immorality.
Hypocrisy rightly makes us angry. We hate hypocrites. Hypocrisy makes us cynical. Hypocrisy makes us distrustful. I hate the hypocrisy that I see in those others around me, and the damage that it does... but there is a kind that I hate even more. I hate the hypocrisy that I see in myself. I hate it, but sadly, I’ll hypocritically, point out the failures in others much more quickly than I’ll confront it in myself. I hate hypocrisy, but I find myself looking for the short cuts when it is the long road that needs to be walked. I hate hypocrisy, and I hate hypocrites, but I hear from my own mouth the self justifications and excuses for the failures within me.
Is that the same for all of us or is it only me? I think that it may be for all of us, because I remember being told, maybe even here in Armidale as a kid, that when I point my one finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at me. People often think that Jesus never got angry, but that isn’t actually true. The Bible records his anger more than once, in fact, more than once at hypocrisy. He hates it more than I do. But here is the good news for a hypocrite like me. Not only did Jesus get angry at hypocrisy, but he also provided a solution for its reality. Jesus said “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
No hypocrite, Jesus lived a life consistent with his belief and call, and no mere talker, he gave his life so that hypocrites and sinners might be saved. Jesus said of himself “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Is that a get out-of-gaol free card for hypocrites? By no means, rather it is the certainty of our judgment, while at the same time an offer of mercy for those who would recognise their guilt and turn away from their hypocritical, self justifying ways.
It isn’t easy to admit the truth about ourselves, and it might take a long time to leave behind that which we hate in ourselves, that others hate in us, and that Jesus himself hates, and yet the promise of the only one I have confidence in saying was no hypocrite, stands written in history. Jesus said “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."