“Hypocrite” is a nasty word. It’s a slap in the face to be called a hypocrite. Jesus used it for his loudest critics (Matthew 23). He used it of those who were judgemental while ignoring their own faults (Matthew 7:5; 15:7). It is not a nice label. Nobody likes a hypocrite.
Yet, hypocrisy is everywhere. Why? If it is so bad, why does it keep cropping up?
Hypocrisy remains among us because we feed it, nurture it, and grow it to maturity. Here’s how to guarantee that hypocrisy will grow.
Use Hypocrisy as an Excuse for Hypocrisy
Someone makes a hypocritical statement, and they are called on it. Their response is that their opponent did the same so why complain? It’s common in the news. Memes are floating around the internet quote the leader of one party making a statement in the past that is vehemently opposed today by that same party. Then, the tables are turned, and the hypocrisy flows in the other direction.
In this way of thinking hypocrisy is still just an excuse. It is a weakness of character that allows the horrible practice to spread and expand. Hypocrisy becomes fertilizer for more hypocrisy.
Allow Hypocrisy to be Expected and Accepted
Hypocrisy is so common that we have to come to accept that hypocrisy is a part of everyday life. When was the last time you were shocked, at someone’s hypocritical behavior? Have you ever heard a brother sing sweet hymns to our Lord in the assembly and scream and yell like a banshee when he’s cut off in traffic? How about a sister who modestly sits among the saints Sunday and dresses in attire worthy of a brothel on Monday?
This is the nature of sin. “Everybody is doing it” cries Satan. It must be ok! Can we rediscover a sense of holiness that refuses to accept hypocrisy or any other sin, as normal? Accepting hypocrisy feeds the flock and grows more.
The government just recalled all romaine lettuce because it was contaminated by bacteria. The contamination was tiny. You couldn’t see it, and it couldn’t even be washed away. This minuscule impurity was enough to sicken and kill people. Its presence in the food chain could not be tolerated.
Tolerate hypocrisy, and it will grow just like a bacterial infestation will grow in your physical body. We seek a consistent but growing holiness among brethren. Gentle, or even strong rebukes, may prevent hypocrisy from becoming habitual. Tolerance of duplicity is the water of a crop of hypocrisy.
Confuse Repentance with Hypocrisy
Our Lord calls for repentance (Luke 13:3). Entrance into the body of Christ requires repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19). One who has repented talks, thinks, and walks differently than before. On the surface, they may suddenly appear to be a hypocrite, but they are not; they are changed.
When we question the validity of repentance, when we assume hypocrisy instead of struggle, we will drive that person back into the arms of sin and make our prophecy of their hypocrisy self-fulfilling.
We must encourage repentance for no man can come unto Jesus without being changed. But understand that change is often slow. It is hard. Sometimes we slip. That is not hypocrisy. To confuse repentance and pretense is sure to grow a bumper crop of hypocrisy.
Spout Vague Teachings to Mask Hypocrisy
At its core, hypocrisy is about hiding conduct in a way that masks hypocrisy. No one wants to be labeled a hypocrite, so he is careful with his words and speaks in broad generalities avoiding specifics.
Our pulpits have become fountains of weak words and weasel statements. As a result, brethren have begun to use the same language. Our claim that sin is a problem or a disease masks the reality of its true, heinous nature. Jesus was never vague. He spoke truth. Speak elusive words and hypocrisy will soon bloom.
Root out hypocrisy and a beautiful lawn will grow in place of the weeds.