What Is Hypocrisy?
I was the clerk for an Army chaplain named John S. & he referred to Christians as “just dirtbags for Jesus.” That might have been his way of saying we are capable of hypocrisy. Now John was one of the finest chaplains I ever knew. And he might have been on to something there, even if "dirtbags" is a little derogatory. I have considered his “dirtbag” theory for over a decade to make the following reflections.
Lots of folks make a commitment to Christ by sincere adult decision or choice then carelessly fall into thoughts & actions that smear the Lord and his church. HYPOCRISY is no new thing. We slip, some slide, but all of us are less than perfect. I think human character is flawed by nature. This is truly a planet of misfits. And when we get religion the problem is not totally fixed. Too often us “dirtbags for Jesus” encounter a tough situation or temptation where we should look to God, but instead we look around to see if anyone is watching . . . Well, the world is always watching and quick to notice and unforgiving of our sins.
It might be in order to mention that some of the most brilliant humans of all time had issues with hypocrisy or inconsistency: David seducing Bathsheba & having her husband killed, Dr. Jeckle & Mr. Hyde, Liberace & gender issues, Churchill & alcoholism, the professional airline pilot who ran his wife thru a brush chipper, the protestant pastor in Dallas who strangled his wife brain dead then went on preaching, etc. etc. Then on the grand scale we have the mother church disaster sin of all time – the Spanish inquisition. History is replete with cases of human character flaws at all levels. Average Christians are not the only “dirtbags” around.
Of course God sees everything small or great – we can't hide. He has watched HYPOCRISY for thousands of years (and recorded it). It may be one of his pet peeves – Jesus certainly had problems with the Pharisee's inconsistencies & let them know exactly where he stood on the subject. See John 8:44. He also said “And if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.” Matthew 18:8 Now, not many of us are going to take a blade and hack away body parts that cause us to sin – no matter how intense our commitment. (If we did, there would be a lot of people missing various body parts, especially men). But we need to be consistent and true to our calling. Giving people reasons to despise us and our Lord defeats the purpose of making a stand for & with Christ. We are being watched & we need to minimize our sin.
-- “If you want to talk the talk, be prepared to walk the walk.” Anon.
-- “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, . . . They have all gone astray . . . Psalm 14:2-3
-- “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.” Solomon, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5
-- “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3
-- “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” The brother of Christ, James 1:22
-- “So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Jesus, Revelation 3:16
To summarize – most people know that God's standards are high & us “dirtbags” have problems. But it is better to risk being a “dirtbag for Jesus” than to miss the boat altogether. It will be a weak & hopeless excuse to tell God on judgment day, “but Lord, those who claimed to be righteous really weren't, so I didn't try.” Choose Jesus, he is alive & don't worry about being less than perfect. Nobody gets there on perfection, just Grace & commitment. See also link 87 "Five C's of Romance".
Many other Titles: www.gospelnotes.net - Link 1 is Index * * F. J. Stone * *