“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”
My heart pounds with an awkward sense of fright when I’m placed before obvious hypocrisy. It happens, and very unfortunately it happens most noticeably with so-called confessing Christians. I don’t even like the thought of writing this piece, but I feel compelled to. How else is one able to speak into the lives of those who live so far from their own sin and therefore are strangers, aliens to repentance—the most necessary component of the true Christian’s ethos?
The starkly ironic and sad thing is that those most given to this practice will pass over this particular message for they don’t see the personal benefit or its relevance. A message of repentance doesn’t make their ‘top 10.’
I said my heart pounds. It does, and having enquired about it I find it’s the shrinkingly shrieking sense of spiritual outrage or indignation which most fires the belly of my emotions. I see the damage it causes as these people, who think they’re living pious purpose-driven lives, totally miss the point in their selfish, overly materialist or judgmentally-founded, devoid of God, spirituality.
They hardly see the Spirit of God—the God they apparently serve—cringing at their very deliberation. These have the true status of the false teacher, plainly because the doctrine they characteristically spew out of their mouths is patently incorrect by virtue of the fact they cannot or will not live it.
Spiritual criticism, with hypocrisy particularly in mind, should start and end with introspection. If I talk about others being hypocrites, can I not also desire to see the hypocrite in myself? This is how it should be. I’m at once both ashamed of my personal hypocrisy, yet so indelibly relieved that the Saviour, Jesus, comes to me afresh through the Holy Spirit, enjoining the contriteness of my heart with his healing touch.
Hypocrites all—I pray for you and me... for all of us. For we need a Saviour never more than right now, with what we’re about to mutter and condemn and omit and deprecate.
Father in heaven, forgive me for my hypocrisy. Forgive the wanton sinner who comes before you with the genuinely repentant spirit. Castigate the proud hypocrite. Cast that person on Satan. Bring justice for those low and weary of heart. It’s in Jesus’ holy and perfect name I pray this. Amen.
© 2009 S. J. Wickham.