There is hope for hypocrites

Hypocrisy just makes us mad doesn’t it? Politicians speaking of tightened belts, while endorsing payments for themselves.

There is the hypocrisy of some media figures speaking of truth and objectivity, while at the same time advancing a personal or political agenda with inaccurate or selective reporting.

There is the hypocrisy of some doctors supposedly committed to the Hippocratic Oath, while at the same time advocating killing.

It makes us mad when we see examples of police who are supposed to be guardians, caught in corruption or carelessness, and then there are examples of hypocritical clergy, preaching and standing for morality while living out the worst kinds of immorality.

Hypocrisy rightly makes us angry. We hate hypocrites. Hypocrisy makes us cynical. Hypocrisy makes us distrustful.

I hate the hypocrisy that I see in those others around me, and the damage that it does… but there is a kind that I hate even more. I hate the hypocrisy that I see in myself.

I hate it, but sadly, I’ll hypocritically, point out the failures in others much more quickly than I’ll confront it in myself.

I hate hypocrisy, but I find myself looking for the short cuts when it is the long road that needs to be walked.

But here is the good news for a hypocrite like me. 

Jesus said: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

No hypocrite, Jesus lived a life consistent with his beliefs, and no mere talker, he gave his life so that hypocrites and sinners might be saved.

Jesus said of himself: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”.

Is that a get out of jail free card for hypocrites?

By no means, rather it is the certainty of our judgment, while at the same time an offer of mercy for those who would recognise their guilt and turn away from their hypocritical, self-justifying ways.

The Very Reverend Chris Brennan is the Dean of St Peter’s Cathedral in Armidale.