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Pastor’s Letter, July 16, 2021
Dare We Call It Hypocrisy ?
I can’t believe it !
He prayed with his eyes open !!
It happened one Sabbath brunch at the cafeteria at Ambassador College. I brought a date to the occasion and we all bowed our heads while another student gave a prayer for the meal. Then my date exclaimed, “Huh. I can’t believe it….that guy just prayed with his eyes open!” I thought for a second and cocked my head as if to ask her…. “How would you know if he prayed with his eyes open?”
Human nature is such that any of us can have the potential to be hypocrites…condemning or disparaging another for doing what we may be doing...knowingly or unknowingly. We all have the potential to be hypocrites. What is equally sobering is that many times, hypocrites do not know they are hypocrites.
In the field of psychology, a term called “gaslighting” has been developed to identify a problem in which a person has projected onto other people his own problems.
Indeed hypocrisy is established when people live less than perfect lives and cover their shortcomings by directing public attention to the real or imaginary faults of others. Here the inward man and the outward personality do not perfectly match up. To the extent that we are not perfect is the extent that we could become hypocrites
I recall the case of an inebriated drunk driver in my home town who at high speed plowed his new car into a tree on the side of the road. As paramedics and police pulled him out of the wreckage, in his drunken stupor he ‘gaslighted’ by moaning, “Who moved the road on me?”
People often live lives of inherent contradictions as exemplified by the man who said “I love peace so much I will fight for it” or the mother who said, “I just loved that military parade; you know, every man was out of step in that parade except my son !”
With human nature, people sometimes cannot see themselves nor their loved ones as they really are.
Enter Romans 2:1
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge for you who judge practice the same things for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
It is often true that unrepentant sinners will put up extensive denials of wrong doing yet criticize others when they are trying to hide something. This can especially be true when they are intolerant of another’s real or imagined mistakes. Some have even made pompous claims that they have never done “x” only to be embarrassed later when others find out the opposite was true.
Insight into this condition is provided in Jeremiah 17:9 which gives a raw description of the deceitfulness of human nature by reminding us that we could also sin, go into denial and thereby risk becoming hypocrites. If we strive to maintain a life that God will approve of, we minimize the chances of embarrassing ourselves with gaslighting. God, and oftentimes other people, can see right through any denials that we may attempt to make.
And as we strive to seek perfection (Matthew 5:48) let us not get discouraged with ourselves but know that as we harmonize with God we will be happier, more spiritually confident and optimistic about our individual and collective futures together.
Proactively we should periodically examine ourselves and ask God to live in our lives more. In Psalms 19:12 David asked God to reveal to David his “secret sins” so that he could turn away from them; especially if they were invisible to him. Of course we remember David’s sin with Bathseba and Uriah and yes, it was ironic that the prophet Nathan had to point out that what David condemned in court (the slaughtering of the pet lamb) was exactly what he, David was guilty of on a much larger scale. Until God jolted David through Nathan’s urging, David could not see that he was wrong. He deceived himself. But most of the time David was a man after God’s own heart and willing to have God steer his life. In doing so, he minimized hypocrisy in his life on earth. God had great delight in David and can also have it with us.
Services this week:
Will meet this Sabbath at the Best Western at 13021 N. Cleveland Ave., 33903. Bob Orosz will be giving the sermon
Services begin also at 1:30. I will speak there. After our pot luck meal we will take a half hour to discuss the sermonette and sermon.
Perry Harold will be there to speak this Sabbath and church services will be at the “Farm” at 1:30. Anyone needing directions should contact Mike McCarty at 850-491-7501.
Best wishes to all,