A hypocrite is someone other than me. That seems to be a good working definition for most of us. Of course my pious readers – if any remain – are already distancing themselves from my definition. But they are all a bunch of hypocrites.
Seldom, if ever, do we pair the word hypocrite with a first-person pronoun. We all know that we’re not the hypocrites in the room. It’s those other people over there. Look at those people … what a bunch of hypocrites.
Jesus frequently used the word hypocrite in reference to leaders. Leaders took notice of this reference and immediately used hypocrite as a synonym for the word opponent. Consequently, the world is full of hypocrites. Just ask the Republicans and Democrats to point out all the hypocrites. You’ll pretty much find everyone is covered. Yes, even the Libertarians and Constitutionalists.
It’s rather difficult to preach about hypocrisy. The subject lacks relevance. Everyone believes the message is for someone else. “Boy, I wish Bob were here today … he really needs to hear this … I hope my wife is listening … maybe I’ll give her a nudge. Why doesn’t the pastor practice what he preaches? … he could use a dose of his own medicine.”
Jesus said hypocrites love to look at the speck in other people’s eyes, while avoiding the log in their own. In other words, they point out the failings of others while justifying their own sins and shortcomings. Hypocrites champion righteous causes, even though they lack the righteousness they are championing.
The Internet is ripe with hypocrites. This might have something to do with the fact that people use the Internet. Sometimes I click on the blogs or articles that get the most comments. The trend appears universal. If a post has a lot of comments, most of those comments are going to be downright nasty.
It seems the Internet was created so we could tear apart every last enemy. A 24-hours-a-day platform to prove our rightness at the expense of human decency. When is the last time you read a posting such as, “Thanks for the blog, it helped me realize I was wrong”?
I can hear the reply of the annoyed and defensive. Well, you didn’t admit to doing anything wrong, why should I? Well, you got me on that one.
I guess we’ll just have to stay in this wonderful stalemate where the only thing progressing is the creative ways we tear each other apart. Or maybe we actually could spend a prolonged season focusing on our own failings.
I’m a hypocrite. And so are you. The quicker we embrace this reality, the better chance we have of healing our land.
Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” at 6 p.m. Saturdays on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.