Monday, November 19, 2007

Hypocrisy

I fear hypocrisy. I fear it in myself and in others, but as I can't see anyone's heart, I am not always aware of it in others.

The HYPOCRITES of the New Testament were the Pharisees, of course; at least that is one of the easiest pairings we make when discussing this subject. Hypocrites exhibit the following, according to Jesus in Matthew 23:
1. Hypocrites expect more of others than they give or do v. 4.
2. They don’t look at the long-term consequences of their ideas and actions, just the outer appearance and short-term image5-6
3. They are all about exclusion v 13
4. They don’t get their hands dirty v. 14
5. Hypocrites are more about arguing for their side and being right than seeing another’s side or doing right v.15
6. They miss the priorities in God’s kingdom v. 23
7. They look for evil in others but not themselves.v.25-27
8. They are not honest with themselves.29ff

The last one of this list, dishonesty with one's self, is the most common today. In my 52 years of living, there are a few things I've learned from experience that I consider pretty indisputable, and this is one of them: Humans are masters of self-deception. And the more isolated we are from others, the more masterful at self-deception we will become. Isolation--whether helped by the Internet or other media--keeps us from interaction with others whom we might rub up against in our givenness, our real humanness. Isolation is not the way we were designed to live (an evolutionists would even agree with that; humans have always existed in small social units), and our increasing isolation and dependence on mediated communication is a sign of great sickness.

My fear of hypocrisy, of being someone at Brainerd Baptist Church who I'm not at home who I'm not at the grocery store who I'm not at Dalton State College--motivates me to integrity and wholeness, the opposite of hypocrisy.

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