We All Hate Hypocrisy…Do We Hate It In Us?

    About a dozen years ago, a pastor-friend of mine made a dream hire. He was able to convince a young man to join him in a small town in Wisconsin as his assistant pastor. This young man had everything going for him on his resume. He had glowing references, a near 4.0 gpa from arguably the most respected Bible college (Moody) and seminary (Trinity) in the country. During his Moody years, he was so well thought of by his peers that he was elected student body president. In Seminary, he received multiple and prestigious awards. My friend hired him part time while he was still in seminary, and then full time after he graduated. I was happy for my friend and wondered how he was able to snag him.
    By all accounts, he was a hit in the church. He led worship, preached regularly, and in youth ministry was loved by both the students and their parents. He had a winsome personality and a great sense of humor. My friend trusted him completely. While visiting their church as a guest speaker, I told him (in front of my friend) that when he decided to look around, to call me. At the time was being courted by a nearby church of over 1,000 attendees to be the next senior pastor. I’m really glad that never happened, but I so feel for my friend.
    After serving together for 7 years, my friend was shocked when he learned this youth pastor had been having a four year affair with a girl in the youth group, beginning when she fifteen. This man was married and by this time, had six kids! The police were called (and rightly so), there was a criminal trial, headlines for months (in a small town), and you can imagine the damage to the cause of Christ! The guy was put in prison and just got out a couple of months ago.
    My friend called this last week. Another revelation in this guy’s past and now the headlines in this small town is that he’s been accused of, arrested for, and has confessed to also molesting two infant girls. Of course, he’s still being identified as the former youth pastor at my friend’s church. I’m heartbroken for all victimized, Jesus included (Matthew 25:40).
    How can this be? How can a guy who purported such a religious pedigree and spiritual demeanor stoop to such levels and cause so much damage?
    I guess, for starters, we have to admit that while we think we may be good at discerning hearts, we really can’t see what’s inside a person. Only God can do that. We get fooled all the time. I don’t know how often I hear it said about someone after an atrocious deed, “She seemed like such a good person, and so genuine.” But that’s something we just cannot know. Only God sees the heart. “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives” (Jeremiah 17:9, 10, NLT). This youth pastor looked and sounded so good on the outside…not so with his heart.
    But there’s something else in this for us. We have to constantly check our own hearts. Sometimes hearing stories like this cause us to feel better about ourselves because we haven’t done something that bad. But beware! Paul warned the Corinthians, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin” (1 Corinthians 10:12, NLT). You may not be prone to the exact sins others are, but we are all made of the same stuff, suffer the same depravity, and who knows what we may be capable of given the wrong circumstances.
    This is what David was getting to when he wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you” (Psalms 139:23, 24, NLT). He knew, and probably taught his son, Solomon, the principle he recorded in his wisdom writings, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV). Jesus taught this principle as well, that our lives, our words, actions and choices, all flow from our hearts.
    I’ve always said, “There’s a little bit of hypocrisy in all of us.” Why do you think Jesus gave such strong words regarding hypocrisy. Those warnings were not just recorded for the Pharisees of the first century. That’s for us to pay attention to as well. We all do and say things periodically that contradict our professed belief system. But that’s an indicator of where our hearts are. And another good reason to constantly look to the Lord to search our hearts and reveal those discrepancies, so that we can get back in harmony with our Creator and Savior.
    “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).

2 Responses to We All Hate Hypocrisy…Do We Hate It In Us?

  1. D.Chances.R January 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Well said

  2. Justindm65 January 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    This is particularly true for those who regard themselves as 'above all' simply because of their higher education or what they perceive to be their greater grasp on spiritual matters. We all need to be on guard for such as this. It is too easy to be the sheep lead to slaughter rather than salvation. Beware of the one who believes because he's a minister or a pastor, he should not be questioned, simply because he is what he is. Rather, it is one such as this who should be constantly examining his own actions, thoughts, motives."Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

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