Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hypocrites! (03/30/16)

Confession time: I'm a hypocrite. Near the end of yesterday's post about frustration (link!), I said that sometimes I think we should forgive a situation or a person even if they haven't apologized first. Now there are certain people in all of our lives who are the complete opposite of us, and in this case, opposites do not attract. These are the few people who can get under your skin, but they do a really good job of it. I had to interact with two of these people today, and I just felt really irritated with them, even if they didn't realize it.

"Hey self!"
"You remember what you said yesterday about forgiveness?"
"Oh. Right. Do I have to?"
"Right now? I mean, these things take time. That's what they always say."
"But the sooner you get rid of the issue..."
"The sooner it should heal? Okay, I guess I'll try."
"Good choice."

I'm also a hypocrite for despising hypocrites. Someone will bug me because they act so much differently from their words, so I'll judge them really harshly, even if I keep my judgement just to myself. Then, every now and then, I see myself doing something that I say that I despise when other people do it, and then I realize that I'm being hypocritical again.

The Pharisees in Jesus's day were one denomination of sorts within the Jewish culture, and they were the most careful to make sure no one broke one of the Old Testament laws. They took laws beyond their original intent and created rules on top of rules to prevent from breaking those rules, but they focused more on the action than the intent. Matthew chapter 23 shows more clearly the problem, so I do recommend you check it out. (Link is to Bible Gateway.) Jesus called them hypocrites several times, especially in the book of Matthew.

From a human's point of view, there seem to be two different categories of sins: the big stuff and the small stuff. The big stuff would be things like (not limited to) murder and being unfaithful to a spouse. For people who don't have to control the impulse not to go out and stab someone, I would say that it becomes fairly common to take pride in one's self because of comparison. With that pride also comes more of the supposed small stuff: lying, cheating, stealing, judging, and hypocrisy. I'm not saying that anyone who isn't a murderer is a filthy, dirty, horrible human being who will cheat you out of your money and be an overall person to hang around with. I find in myself that judging other people and being a hypocrite is hard to avoid.

But with God, we're all sinners. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NIV ©2011). Death doesn't just apply to those who commit crimes or do something scandalous. Each little lie you tell or promise you keep is enough to separate you from God until you receive his gift, which is the Holy Spirit.

Quick note: I learned in a project I did last year about relationship issues that it's best to call out the action, not the person. If you label someone as a bully, then they may feel like they have to live up to that label, but if you target the bullying behavior, it sounds more like a problem that can be addressed. I don't recommend going around calling people hypocrites, either. (Again, that would make you a hypocrite. I mean.... make you sound hypocritical....)

I can't exactly end this by telling you guys not to be hypocrites because that would make me a hypocrite (again). Instead, please point out if you see that I'm being hypocritical about anything. Thanks!

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