Can I put in a good word for hypocrites? At least they’re trying half the time! At least they know what they should act and talk like. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, we could say they’re halfway right rather than halfway wrong.
What got Jesus riled up wasn’t hypocrites who, as yet, lacked consistency in their lives; it was the proud hypocrites who intended to keep right on being just the way they were. Jesus didn’t denounce hypocrites who were in the process of integrating their faith and practice.
There are good hypocrites and bad hypocrites, depending on whether they’re emerging into their new life in Jesus or just plain stuck and complacent in their sin.
Freedom in the Spirit
I’m a big proponent of the truth that God’s Spirit, at work in our lives, can free us in this life, even right now, from the clutches of evil thoughts, evil actions and everything that’s less than perfect love. We can be freed from the bondage of the curse under which we were born.
We’re not stuck with our personality “flaws,” much less our twisted inclination toward rebellion and self-assertion. I believe in freedom from sin and its power. We can be freed to love even as God loves. Hypocrisy is never a descriptor of what we should be.
Redemption in Action
And yet I am routinely surprised to discover a fine new sinful temptation in my own life. Yes, I’m freed to perfect love, and, yes, I’m free to sin. Is that hypocritical? No, that’s redemption in action.
When you recognize that you’re not fully what you know you can be, you choose to either sink into a hypocritical spiritual-stupor — stuck in sin, faking it on the outside — or you choose to enter the entourage of the One who “breaks the power of cancelled sin,” of the One who “sets the captive free.”
A hypocrite, moving toward the cross, is a wound healing. A hypocrite, proud and stuck, is a wound gone septic.
Tweet this: Give me a hypocrite who’s aware and trying over a resigned Christian.
BISHOP DAVID ROLLER served for 17 years as a Free Methodist missionary in Mexico and then for 10 years as Latin America area director for Free Methodist World Missions. He was first elected a bishop in 2007.