Hypocritical: Part 5 – Get Real

“Hey, how are you doing?” – “I’m fine.”

How often does that conversation replay itself in your life? How often is the “I’m fine” reply, coming either from you or from the person with whom you are speaking, a lie? Consider this conversation from The Italian Job and how it defines “F-I-N-E.”

John Bridger: How do you feel?
Charlie Croker: I’m fine.
John: Fine? You know what “fine” stands for?
Charlie: Yeah, unfortunately.
John: “Freaked-out,” “Insecure,” “Neurotic” —
Charlie: And “Emotional.”

We ask someone how they are doing, but rarely stop to listen to the answer. We are trained to say, “I’m fine” and keep walking. What would happen if someone stopped and said, “You know what, I’m really struggling today. Thanks for asking. Can we talk? I need some encouragement”??? Instead, we put up our defenses, putting up this wall of impenetrability when inside we are dying for someone to walk through our hurt and pain with us. We are freaked-out, insecure, neurotic and emotional, but good Christians aren’t supposed to struggle like that, so we hide it.

I said in a recent post that “I believe in total depravity, but I don’t want my co-workers to know I am a sinner.” Sure, all of us are sinners. I can say that theologically and practically. But God-forbid I let someone around me know when I’m struggling.

Unfortunately, it is just that attitude that fosters the claims of hypocrisy that we battle. We keep the dark things dark. There are two problems with doing so:

  • Sin dies in the light. Sin loves the dark. Until we bring it into the light, it will not die. Some of my deepest sin patterns that I have overcome (through God’s grace) have been directly tied into public confession of that sin. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:15). Those are the Bible’s words, not mine.
  • The world notices that level of honesty and vulnerability. In fact, letting customers have an inside look is really the trend (and aren’t you glad after all the layers of corporate scandal that have been revealed in the last decade?). The April 2007 cover story of Wired magazine said this, “Smart companies are sharing secrets with rivals, blogging about products in their pipeline, even admitting to their failures. The name of this new game is Radical Transparency, and it’s sweeping boardrooms across the nation.

Wow! Shouldn’t Christians be on the leading edge of this? Shouldn’t we model “Radical Transparency”? Shouldn’t I be willing to admit my failures, clinging to the promise that God is still working on me? Shouldn’t I be willing to say that “yeah, I’m a hypocrite. I really do believe that, but my life doesn’t quite reflect that yet”?

The real danger of hypocrisy comes when we stand in judgment of others for failing to live up to a standard to which we also fall miserably short. In that case, we need to the get the plank out of our own eyes before we worry about the speck in someone else’s eye. Instead, may we become men and women of grace: beggars showing beggars where to find some bread.

Radical greatness in the kingdom requires us to be surprisingly full of grace. We will be accused of being hypocrites – that’s the nature of the already and not yet – until Christ returns and makes us perfect. But the way to avoid giving traction to that accusation is to be marked by humility and vulnerability, letting the grace that we have received flow through us. Then, just maybe, when someone asks us how we are doing, we will be willing to share what’s really going on and how God’s grace enables you to carry on.

Interact: What other ways can Christians offset the accusations of being hypocrites?

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2 Responses

  1. We can offset the accusations of being hypocritical by not judging others, but instead looking at ourselves and repenting of our weaknesses and shortcomings. Do we ask trustworthy friends to reveal our shortcomings to us, gently but honestly? If so, we have to be ready to hear what they have to say and willing to do the hard work of change. None of this is possible without Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Hebrews 12:2.

    I like this song by Rush of Fools, “Undo”

  2. In everything, keep the Gospel central. In our words and message, in our relationships, in our actions and choices. The Gospel is the hinge point, IMO.

    Check this out:

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