So, full disclosure here. It’s taken me a long time to say it here, but I have decided it is time. I am a hypocrite.
It is probably no surprise to many of you. But to some, it will raise the hair on the back of your neck. You aren’t supposed to like or trust hypocrites. As a kid, I remember being on the look out for people who said one thing and did another. It didn’t fit with the high standard of Judeo/Christian ethic I was raised with.
Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. I’m a Christian.
Wow. This must be true confessions day.
I had learned as a young person that there is some miserable passage in the Bible that says hypocrites will get “spewn out of God’s mouth”; I am sure of it. I surely wasn’t interested in getting spewn anywhere. As a young woman, I was easily appalled at hypocricy. And I saw it under every bush.
Take my own religion. You remember, of course, because you like to remind me of this. There were the Crusades. And colonialism. Don’t forget the Holocaust. And George W. Bush. And a few of my relatives, to name a few. It’s not pretty.
It is easy to find hypocracy in religion.
The most obvious one in this time is that little issue of the current Jihad terrorism. It hijacked Muslim faith, just like the Crusades did. Or the Jewish settlements in Palestine. More personally, there are the “right to life” arguments where one side allows for abortion but not the death penalty; and the other perspective allows for the death penalty but not abortion. See what I mean? Hypocrites, all of us!
It is also easy to find hypocricy in politics (promises, promises…), professional sports (a sad thank you to Mr. Sandusky for your poignant example), business (just check your current house value for a memory jogger), academic research, the entertainment industry, and all areas of life that are subject to guiding principles or mores. In fact, it’s easy to find it in me.
I was raised in a Christian home. The occasional church-going crowd, really. I took this on very personally because I developed a special affinity with Jesus. I really dug him – and had a myriad of mystical experiences as a child that I am only now making sense out of. In our family, we had the “dad prayer” at dinner, and my parents were good, sturdy, salt-of-the-earth farming people. (With a few addiction issues, sure, but good people nonetheless.) So, it isn’t so easy for me to hear people dismiss Christians – or any other group – because they are hypocrites. In my book, hypocrite means someone who is still trying to piece together and live by principles that matter to them. It is part of being human.
It is also true that every other people, race, and community has something similar to account for. There’s plenty of blame to go around for hypocracy. Religion doesn’t have the corner on the market there. Sadly, we are by nature in process, working to deepen our self-control and learning to stay with our convictions, changing our convictions as life evolves, and always on a journey of self-discovery.
So, what are we to do?
This is the tricky part. Take a good honest look at yourself and recognize that you are in a life long process of becoming a person who lives with integrity and love. Imagine yourself the most nonjudgmental, loving person you know. And find the humanity in even the biggest hypocrite you know. And then – strike the word hypocrite from your vocabulary. I will begin now.