Sin and temptation of hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is one of many temptations. It’s a trap that is easy for anyone to fall into. It becomes especially easy for one to commit hypocrisy when he or she holds a position of power. They greater the power, the greater the temptation. The more power one has, the more a person craves to appear just and righteous in front of others. It’s natural.

A powerful person has the responsibility of upholding righteousness and justice, and so, must also appear righteous and just. A person of power is entrusted to levy justice when he or she is required to do so. It is a leader’s moral obligation to better society and encourage order and good governance.

The sin of hypocrisy is suddenly committed when a person violates what they have already publicly endorsed as righteous and just. If a person has never endorsed an act as righteous and still violates that which he spoke against, then there is no sin of hypocrisy.

Jesus warned against hypocrisy:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Gospel of Matthew, ch. 6, verses 1-4

Hypocritical politicians will sound the trumpet as they publicly express their opinion about others’ freedom to protest in other countries. Case in point, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau voiced his opinion for India’s farmers’ right to protest. He spoke out against China’s human rights violations and violent crackdown the formerly liberal democratic Hong Kong. Recently, he also voiced his opinion in support of Russians who protested against the attack on Ukraine. He also endorsed the violent protests of Black Lives Matter and Antifa and publicly went down on his knee for them.

This sin of hypocrisy became apparent after he voiced his opinion in support of other people’s freedom to protest, and then turned around to limit Canadian trucker’s freedom to protest. These truckers protested peacefully for only three week, whereas, India’s farmers protested for over a year before it had ended.

Canadian truckers had their livelihood negatively impacted by vaccination mandates. They had every right to protest against their government’s heavy-handed policies. They have families to feed. They have bills, truck loans, and mortgages to pay. They were about to lose everything. They came to Ottawa not to occupy the city but to protest the mandates, have them dropped, then return home to resume their life and work. They did not want government to interfere with their legitimate means to earn a living.

What further angered Canadians was when Trudeau attempted to enact laws to illegalize donations made to the protesters cause. He intended to inflict pain by seizing the bank accounts of supporters who had already legally and legitimately donated to their cause. Furthermore, he labeled these donors as terrorists. Imagine the horror and the shock. To deem a legal donation as an act of terror was incomprehensibly undemocratic, uncharacteristic of a liberal free democratic society. Even our American friends were horrified by this undemocratic move. Acts like this are typical of communist and authoritarian regimes.

In Canada’s House of Commons, Trudeau got support from his Liberal caucus and the support of a minority party, the New Democratic Party. However, when it came to the Senate, Trudeau was disappointed he did not have the support from the Senate. He was forced to back-off from invoking the Emergencies Act. These Canadian Senators did the right thing. Years ago, people debated on the effectiveness of an appointed Senate. It was slightly reformed by not including political appointments along political affiliations.

A healthy liberal democracy must have enough checks and balances in its political system to counter governments when they become heavy-handed in their approach to governing. Canada no longer has this. It has been weakened and is in an unhealthy state. Perhaps this weakened liberal democracy will need an overhaul.

This move by Trudeau and his Deputy P.M. Krystia Freeland has set a dangerous precedent in Canadian history. In the future, it will present itself as a big temptation for any politician to take advantage of the Emergencies Act in order to quash and silence dissenting opinions.

Though the truckers have now left Ottawa, the protest remains strong in the people’s hearts. The protest has not only become a protest against vaccination mandates. It has also become a protest against Trudeau’s hypocrisy and tyranny. More importantly, it has also become a protest against the loss of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

As a result, some Canadians pulled their money out of Canadian banks. Some Canadians have already decided to leave this country and apply for U.S. residence and citizenship. No one can blame them. Truckers, doctors, nurses, and federal workers have lost their jobs due to a heavy-handed federal vaccination mandate. They will be leaving by the thousands and be bringing their families with them. Future generations of potential law-abiding and hardworking people will be lost.

Today, Trudeau has rightly earned his worldwide recognition as a tyrant and hypocrite, and these sins will have their consequences. It is to Canada’s best interest to reverse these harmful vaccination mandates as soon as possible. Canadians are waking up by the thousands each day, and will one day oust them from power in the next elections. In the mean time, hopefully, Trudeau does not damage Canadian democracy too much more in the next 3.5 years.

[ added a link to article: Rex Murphy: Claiming the Trucker Protest Was an Attempted Government Coup Is Beyond Ridiculous ]

Hypocrisy: A Sickness that leads to death

People have been hurt by hypocrisy. I didn’t realize how detrimental and serious hypocrisy was.  Later, when I was on the receiving end, I realized what hypocrisy can do to others and to ourselves.

hypocrisy mask

Hypocrisy is a deceptive and sinister type of sin.  It can be hidden and camouflaged… hidden behind religious talk, good deeds, spiritual acts of kindness.  Sometimes unaware, we Christians fall for it and even turn a blind eye to it.

Who might be victims and perpetrators of hypocrisy?  Ordinary people, including Christian leaders: priests/pastors, pastors spouses, deacons, elders, Sunday school teachers, council/board members.  Religious leaders in Jesus’ days fell for it too, including Barnabas (Gal. 2:13).

It includes people inside the Church and also outside the Church. It happens within greater society and also in sub-cultures.

It is practiced everywhere… by almost everyone at some point in their life.  By politicians…by Moms and Dads…aunts and uncles, by business people, by your friendly local cashier at the grocery checkout,  and yes, maybe even by your local cafe barista.

In others words: by anyone you can think of.

Sad. When we are bound by hypocrisy, it’s hard to recognize our own hypocrisy.  We are numbed by our own self-deception and our deception upon others.

It seems hopeless especially when hypocrites never get called on it.

There is a powerful technique that successful hypocrites use. Fear and intimidation.

Thus, hypocrisy gets further perpetuated. We hide behind a veil of moralism but still feel guilty.

I have seen it in others. I have wanted to expose it.  I have struggled with it myself.

It’s all an act.  We fear that someone might “spill the beans.”  There’s fear… fear that there will never be genuine forgiveness if we confess our faults, weakness and mistakes.

And apologize?  “Why should I apologize when I can just cover it up with a few falsehoods?  It’s safer, cleaner and simpler to just cover it up.  Nobody needs to know.”

We would rather continue hiding behind our lies.  One lie covers up another lie — one stacked upon another.  We are so blinded by our own hypocrisy of lies our consciences can become seared that we no longer feel guilt (1 Tim. 4:2).

Peter puts it in the same category as malice, deceit, envy and slander (1 Pet. 2:1).  So yes, it’s a serious matter.

Sad when we’ve been so cold for so long that it no longer matters. We rationalize it.  “If it doesn’t matter to me, why should it matter to the next person?  They might not even be aware of my hypocrisy anyway.  So who cares?”

Paul said, “Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).  When we heap our hypocrisy upon others, it shows we don’t love them.

It’s like when you accidentally shake hands with someone but have mistakenly or innocently forgotten about your flu or cold?  You feel guilty about spreading your germs because you didn’t confess.  Later, they get sick.  Your guilt intensifies.  By then it’s too late.

I didn’t recognize my own hypocrisy.  I saw hypocrisy in everyone else except for the hypocrisy within myself.

God knows there are many more hypocrites in Christendom.  Probably a lot more than I had thought.  It’s one of the symptoms of our sickness… and it’s in the Church.  Yes, even in my own church, and it might very well be in your local congregation or parish too.

We buy into a false belief. “If I act like a saint, God will approve of me.  God might even close a blind eye to my false pretenses, self-deception and deception of others.”  Why? “Since God is love, and I love Jesus, everyone ought to love me too.”  We vainly take God’s love for granted and refuse to truly love the other.

It’s an utter perversion of the heart.  Master-minded by our false pretenses.  It strikes a chord at the level of evil matched only by Lucifer. I know… it sounds dark.

We subconsciously justify it when we put ourselves on a higher plane above others.  “I can do it because I’m better than the other person.  I’m smarter, more beautiful, more deserving, or more righteous than that person.”

See how sinister hypocrisy can be?  You don’t buy it?

hypocrisy meter

Another false belief here…

“My fellow church friends will see me as spiritually mature.  Just act and perform well.  Use my smarts.  Mix some “innocence of a dove” with a little “deception of a serpent.”  Sprinkle it with just enough sugar….

…Abide by generally accepted norms of morality and goodness. All the while, staying within what sounds biblical and Christ-like…

…Make others think I’m spiritually “with it.”  Perform a few Christ-like deeds…

…Mix it in with a little Christian-ese lingo.  Regurgitate a few of Christ’s words from Scripture.  And voila!”

I know this can sound harsh on the ego.  Jesus also had some not-so-pretty words for the religious leaders of his day (Matt. 23:27-28):

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (HCSB)

Ouch!!  That must have hurt.

What’s worse? Those who are sick, and have the viral infection of hypocrisy don’t realize they’ve been infected. They’re stuck with this condition. It will lead to death — a slow spiritual death.

x2cq

This has haunted and demoralized many Christians young and old.  It has deadened many Christians.  Deadened many churches. Tied down pastors and deacons. Tied down church boards, councils, presbyteries and vestries.  It has tied us down.

We have lost the essence of real spiritual freedom.  We think we are free when in reality we are walking around in chains like zombies.  Zombies are like the walking-dead.  They don’t realize what’s really happened to themselves.  They unconsciously seek to inflict their infectious disease upon others who are virus-free.

There is sort of a parallel in Rev. 3:1-3,

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.  “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. (NIV)

zombie kill splatterIn zombie movies, zombies will eventually die (either by fire, gunfire, or via plasma splatter-matter style).   The only hope for zombies is to receive the cure.  As human beings without a spiritual cure, we also will die a spiritual death.

 

The innocent people on the receiving end of our hypocrisy saw it.  They ran.  Exited the doors of the houses of worship and never looked back.

If that’s you: good on you. You can’t be blamed for running away. You ran before the virus could infect you. I hope you got away safely.

homer running

Then, there are some who did not run. They stayed to remain faithful to Christ’s Church.   Sadly, they got the infection. They contracted the virus.  They morphed into another form.

They saw themselves as good… and as hypocrites by others.

They have continued to spread this disease to others. Some unknowingly became victims of the disease. They became sick.  Some died.

We are all victims of the evil one.

Our joy has been sapped out of our spiritual lives. Now we walk with a spiritual limp (like that green pale zombie).

To live a more abundant Christian life, we need a remedy. Those of us within the Church need healing.

And those outside the Church also need recovery.

We need an injection of this serum.  Yes there is a serum…a remedy…a solution. Good news is it’s free.

The courier is God the Holy Spirit.  The prescription has been written in the Holy Scriptures.

It’s the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ Jesus — not in our human abilities.

——-
A Danish philosopher/theologian, Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55), entitled his book, Sickness Unto Death. I like the title so I borrowed a bit from it.  Hence the title of this post.  Kierkegaard wrote on “despair” in the midst of a society that grew cold and slid down a path from true faith into mere Christendom. His nation had lost its spiritual moorings. The Church in North America might be in a similar state of spiritual decay today.

Our prayer: “Please God, send us this serum to rid us of this spiritual sickness. Bring us freedom in Jesus Christ. Teach us to walk by faith and not by sight.”