- Posted April 10, 2014 by
Grand Prairie, Texas
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First Person: Your essays
Such strong words, I know. But I got your attention. You see, the word hypocrite has become one with a negative connotation that often times leaves people with a frown. Don't worry, because you are in good company, I too used to have deep negative feelings associated with what I deemed as hypocritical. Some years ago, I heard Bishop Jakes preach one of the most life changing messages that I have ever heard; Betrayal Leaves Clues. In that message, he exegeted a text from a different perspective; the familiar scripture when Jesus had just had His last supper with the disciples. During that dinner, He revealed to the disciplines that one of them would betray Him. All of the disciples, not just Judas, asked the question, "Lord, is it I?" (John 13:21-32) The main hermeneutical point that Bishop was making is that within us is the ability to do the very same thing that Judas did hence the question "Is It I?" The disciples were unable to say that they were 100% certain that they would not.
I've learned to never say what someone will or will not do. In fact, I have learned in my own life to never say what you absolutely will or will not do. Quite frankly, that attitude is prideful and precisely why many people must eat a grand slice of Humble Pie with all the extra rich sugar. I'm sure by now, you are wondering what this has to do with being a hypocrite. I'm going somewhere so stay with me….
You see, hypocrisy at its core is about the tendency to have a paradoxical event or circumstance in your life. It's a struggle of your "will's" and "wont's"; "do's" and "dont's"; "go" and "stay"; "can" and "cant's." Regardless of how spiritual a person is, these conflicting things and emotions can occur. And if they have yet to occur in your life, I can only say to you the very thing that my grandmother used to say, "Keep on living honey…that day is sure to come."
Society has defined and reduced hypocrisy as doing one thing and saying another. The number one "hypocrite" that people love to shine the spot light on for heckling purposes is the man or woman who believes in God; who has been labeled as a Christian or a Believer. The moment you are labeled a Jesus Lover, you are then expected to live an entirely perfect life. Except that perfection is determined by those who are of "the world" and live an entirely reckless life. If you have a glass of wine, that automatically means you are a drunkard or you are "killing your witness" because Christians shouldn't drink. If you listen to music other than Gospel or Contemporary Christian, then that must mean you still love the things of the world and that's wrong because you are a Christian. If you are in a relationship, it's wrong because Christians aren't supposed to date, go out, hold hands, and please no affection. After all, dating is of the world. Oh and don't forget, old school did teach us that "glued in the lips means glued in the hips." And if you go to a movie, it has to be a movie with no worldly suggestions; no violence, no romance, no crude humor. I mean we are Christians, so we live in a magical and mystical bubble where we cannot be touched or contaminated by such a sinful world lest we dilute the purity of our love for Jesus. #BlankStare
Church leaders for years have been teaching and preaching opinions and preferences. And those opinions and preferences are what brings condemnation to a person when there is something that is contradictory in his or her life. When I left to move overseas in 2012, I made two major decisions; #1 To live for what makes me happy, and #2 I made a conscious decision to be honest regardless of how beneficial it is for me or how "good it hurt." Therefore, that sometimes works for me and sometimes against me. But it dawned on me; hypocrisy or the pretending that we collectively do has made people numb to life and the only feeling that he or she gets is when honesty jumps up and smacks them in the face. Here's an example…and please buckle your seats for this one. There is this trend of chaste men and women going around boasting on their virtue and ability to remain abstinent or celibate. I see it all over social media. It's really a hot topic; no pun intended. I heard someone say once, if people pray and get in God's face they will learn to stay out each others face and won't struggle as much. That's a real nice and "saved" answer right? But as me and a good friend was talking about the tendency for many to brag, and the lack of honesty concerning human sexuality, I came up with this: "Those same people need to be very careful boastfully joy riding down that road because life will throw a curve ball. It's easy for folks to post about what they aren't doing when reality is they haven't been put in a tempting situation. And for many boasting about it, they have a dresser drawer full of "assistance."" Selah. It sounds harsh and blunt, but it's oh so very true. See…if I said that in most churches, I would come across as a rebel. But if I said that in others, some would get free from so much more than the guilt and shame associated with it; the hypocrisy of appearing to have it together but really struggling.
Here's a little background information… Hypocrisy is not what we have made it to be. The term "hypocrisy" is from an Old French term ypocrisie which is derived from the Greek word hypokrisis. This word in its origin means to "act on stage, play a part, or pretend." Masks were introduced into theatre and drama as a way to cover and hide the face; this was introduced in the 1500s. Fast forward to Western Culture in 2014, people have become so accustomed to getting dressed in the morning and putting on a mask before they leave the house, that they often forget what they look like. I don't mean they forget what they look like physically, but rather what or WHO they look like as a person.
One of the main problems that we as a society have is that many people love to walk around with a mask on which is the technical definition of hypocrite. You may say, "I keep it real." And while that may be true today, there was a time that you did not. Keeping it real is not about the harshness of what you say, or even the lack of taste in what is being said, but the ability to be authentic to who you are in any situation. The reality is that we all have had the tendency to conceal things. It's in our nature. Think about it; we are taught very early on "What goes on in this house stays in this house." So, subconsciously we teach our children before they can even tie their shoes that they must put on a mask when they leave the house. So, understanding all of that, that tendency doesn't change just because we get saved and become a Christian. Now, understand that I'm not referencing utilizing wisdom in sharing or understanding that some things that go on is really no one else's business. But I'm referencing the things that we should be reaching out for prayer, for support, for encouragement, for wisdom, etc. Here's the reality. We are flawed. We get mad. We go off. We get hormonal. We desire things of the flesh. We want to hide. We lie. We steal. We are promiscuous. We are greedy. That's the reality. But the truth is that we are ALL born in sin and shaped in iniquity. That's basic bible. But we also love God. We believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We believe in the power of prayer. We are still anointed, and gifted…without the repentance of God. We are light in darkness. We are salt in a flavorless world. We are love in the midst of hate. We are an extension of God's hands. But that is never to be mistaken for actually being God. We believe in the transformational power of God. But we ARE NOT God. Therefore, we point you towards God. And while God has allowed you to endure enough, experience enough, see enough, etc., He is patiently waiting on you to come to Him with the mask off fully, ready to be healed of all that once stood concealed.