Hypocrisy

I’ve heard it said that all Christians are hypocrites. Yes and No. There are distinctions that need to be made, here, but let me start with: all people are hypocrites. And yet Christians, the ones who repent and believe, are the furthest of all people from being hypocritical, while people who only claim to be Christian, yet don’t follow Scripture, are the furthest from integrity. Non-Christians, are in the middle of that integrity-scale somewhere.1

PREMISE:

People can be both evil and have high levels of integrity. People can also be evil without any integrity to speak of. People cannot, however, be good while also integrity – that is where repentance enters in.

DEFINITION:

Integrity is saying what you mean; doing what you say. Evil is the support of death, destruction, dismemberment, and chaos. Good is the support of life, growth, unity, and order.

EXTRAPOLATION:

If my assertion is correct, the charge against Christians as being hypocritical is itself hypocritical. Such a charge is essentially saying, “I could never be a Christian, because look at them putting on a show on Sunday morning, and then being so different the rest of the week.” There are two things wrong here – the first of which is the assumption that it’s true. The second is the implication that, “I’m better than that.” And the third assumption is that the Christian is somehow to be like the person making the charge against them. Okay, even though I can’t count, each of those statements is asking the Christian to be hypocritical.

In short, “I am authentic, I’m genuine, they’re not.” Sure, if your authentic-ness is to be hypocritical. (Have you seen this NotTheBee article?)

On my fancy integrity-scale, those with the most integrity are Christians who repent of their sins and wrong-doings as quickly as they commit them. Then, there are the Christians who repent of their errors as quickly as they become aware of them, at a later time. Next in line are the non-Christians who operate with internal congruence. Last in the line are those people who claim to be Christian, yet do not follow Christ as Lord.

Plot Point 1- For the repentant Believer, we know that we are sinners with a hopeless inability to pull ourselves out of evil into goodness, except by submitting ourselves humbly to Jesus Christ. We were owned by death and destruction, and He took that upon Himself, in order to bring us into life and wholeness. Because He emptied Himself, we are filled with Him! Our lives are no longer ours, and so we live for Him as He lives in us – it’s unimaginable. And yet, in that process, we become the stench of death to those who do not believe (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Because of our aroma, the world now wants to bury us. It doesn’t mean that we are in a fight with the world, no. It means that the world is fighting with us, though. Yet that’s no concern of ours – because the world’s fight is fundamentally against the Lord. Our job is to stand, to abide in Him, and to be faithful. He does the fighting in His time, in His way. Remember, when He fought sin and death? He died, yet defeated death through resurrection. We don’t expect Christ’s manner of fighting to look the same as the world’s manner of fighting, even though we know confidently that He will ultimately win, just as He won on the cross (Hebrews 2:14).

Plot Point 2- Those who are of some other faith are somewhere in the middle on this integrity-scale. Why? Because they say one thing and do another. They are putting their faith in something; that’s what we all do by virtue of being human. The non-Christian’s faith, whether in secularism, humanism, or atheism; whether in Buddha, in Allah, or in Zen – it’s all about works. Mad props to the effort they put into their misdirected belief, but it’s so sad because the object of their faith is faulty, and therefore they are faulty. It’s a built-in, hard-wired integrity-fail – no matter their intentions (Psalm 115:4-8).

Plot Point 3- But the person who claims Christ, yet isn’t in Christ – this person has the least integrity. These people are false in every way. (Have you seen this Benny Hinn critique?) The teachers of this falsehood know what they’re doing, and they have blood on their hands. We, as faithful believers, have a duty to guard the Truth of the Gospel because lives are at stake. As shepherds of God’s sheep, we have a responsibility, a privileged responsibility, to remove the wolves from the flock (1 Corinthians 5:13). How do we do that? Mostly by proclaiming the Good News as identified in Scripture (Luke 24:47), but sometimes we are required to flip that coin over and identify the untruths which go against Scripture.

There is only one type of person with whom we should not associate. One. It is this person, who claims to be a follower of Jesus, yet does not repent of his sin. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). This is a New Testament mercy, in that the Old Testament requirement for violating the second commandment was death, (Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 24:16). This type of person is the one whom the charge of being a hypocrite should be leveled against. Not submitting to Christ, but claiming His name, is evil (1 Timothy 6:5).

CONCLUSION:

People can absolutely be led astray (2 Peter 2:19). Both the false teachers, as well as those who believe them, are judged by the same God, who has shown us all the greatest of loves (John 15:3). He wants the love He gives you to be returned to Him from you – He does not want your opinion about what He should be like to be insisted upon instead.

2 Timothy 3:13-17 (NLT)- But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.


NOTES:

1 Plot Point 4- Except for Satanists – they can be as non-hypocritical as the faithful, repentant Believer. With integrity, they acknowledge that they don’t value goodness or the well-being of others. They are subversive for the sake of outrage. If a person operates like that, but doesn’t call himself a Satanist, they are not only a psychopath, but also hypocritical.

Satanists know that they fight against the God of all gods (James 2:19, Mark 5:6-8). If they don’t admit this, they fall back down on the integrity-scale. Satanists recognize that the god they serve is the great deceiver and manipulator, the one who twists the Truth, as the father of lies – this god is actively against the True God. Satanists take pride their fight against the God of gods, even though the demons do not. James 2:19 (NLT) – You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

BONUS DEFINITIONS:

There are two different forms of integrity – internal congruence and external congruence. These two different aspects are what all counselors look for when they are making a diagnosis; when they are assessing a person’s mental status.

Internal congruence is when a person’s story matches their own story. It doesn’t take into account reality, but instead simply how they talk regarding their own internal world. If one part of a person’s story doesn’t fit with another part of their own story, they do not have internal congruence – many people might call that lying. Counselors don’t say ‘lying’, however, because there might be other reasons that cause such a condition, such as dementia. (Draw your own conclusions regarding POTUS 46.)

External congruence is when a person’s story matches what is objectively observable by others, as in a video camera’s cold, hard facts. When a person says one thing, but it is observably false, they are without external congruence. Beyond lying, hallucinations or delusions can come into play here, as well.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

If we are accused of not having integrity, that’s fine. But we do need examine ourselves to ensure that we are not being what we’re accused of. Because if we’re Benny Hinn, that’s a problem. But if we’re Paul, that’s a blessing.

Have you heard the somewhat-recent Alisa Childers podcast, where she interviews Voddie Baucham? Do that, and then go buy his book.