I bet that statement got your attention…
I’m certain I’m not alone in having heard, on more than one occasion, “those people are such hypocrites”. Most often times, it’s in association with church-goers. The reason or justification for some people in not attending church, is because it’s “full of a bunch of hypocrites”. And this is going to really rattle your cage, I agree with them. Because, I am one…
The definition, according to Merriam-Webster, of a hypocrite is “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings”. As a human being, living in a modern world, we are all hypocrites on one level or another. We state that we love each other, and yet, anger, resentment and crude little statements creep into our heartspace. Those actions contradict our stated belief of love.
In the workplace, we can hold our position, whatever it may be, and half-ass our way through the day. Or complain about the boss, or snarky co-worker who wears too much perfume; immediately following a team-building meeting where we rah-rah for the company and high-five our co-workers.
In our marriage vows,we’ve made an oath to love, honor and cherish. There are times where we certainly don’t behave in a loving way. When we withhold our hurts and feelings, to spare a disagreement, that is as much as untruth as a woman’s weight on her driver’s license. Even when you attempt to justify it as sparing the other person’s feelings, it is still untruth.
I can write words that spill from my heart as easily as wine, and yet, to speak them aloud is the most fearful, terrifying feat for me. My courage fails me, my brain swims, and my mouth resists the action necessary for me to set my soul free.
To say the words, “you have hurt me deeply”, well I’d rather stay wounded than to risk the explosive response that will require me to respond in return. It isn’t for martydom’s sake, it’s a hypocrisy of my soul. My soul can write volumes on it’s war with my heart; where my brain believes it can override them both and logic should kick in. I can spin words of encouragement to others, lead them in conversations for their soul’s survival, yet I can’t talk to my own kids.
And my faith, oh my faith, where I state that I love God and raise my hands in praise of Him, and daily look over my shoulder in fear of the homeless people surrounding my work community. Where I say that I trust Him, and yet, I attempt to control things that really don’t require my self-perceived expertise. When I proclaim that I’m a brave heart, and forgiven by My Lord, and not really sure if I have forgiven myself for certain things.
The one-thing I know to be true; no one is perfect. We all fall short of our big and mighty proclamations. We all make mistakes and on different occasions, repeat said mistakes. We all, at one time or another, have stated ‘we believe’ and then behave in a way that doesn’t reflect it.
God doesn’t require perfection, there would be no need for Him then. It is in our brokenness and contradictions where He can bundle the mess and create an opportunity to show His glory. I’ve said it before, where He can turn our mess into a message. It’s in our falling down, where we can rise up – knowing better each time.
I am a work-in-progress. I have come a long way, and my journey is far from over. I must choose to look forward and only reflect briefly on my past. The windshield is far bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason! Mistakes, yep, I’ve made a ton. I’m likely to make a ton more. I believe that I am a perpetual student of life and love, but there are certain things I will never understand. And there are days that we just have to march forward, not knowing where the path leads. That’s where faith takes over, if we allow it.
Still think churches are full of hypocrites? I invite you to come and sit down next to one…me!