Hypocrisy Is Bad. Hypocrisy is an almost universally acknowledged bad character trait. This an area where Christians, non-Christians, believers of all kinds, can agree. Hypocrites say and believe one thing but live *often secretly* in an opposing way. Picture the guy who says adultery is wicked and then runs around on his wife. The hypocrisy is easy to see. Hypocrisy is bad because it brings disrepute and eradicates credibility. It’s bad because when hypocrisy is exposed trust is shattered and trust is very, very difficult to earn back. The most compelling reason, however, why hypocrisy is bad is because Jesus hates it. He really, really hates it. It is bad.
But It’s Not All Bad. The funny thing about hypocrisy is that it is – in its lying, twisted way – actually a compliment to truth and goodness. François de la Rochefoucauld was a swanky, 17the century French writer mostly famous for all the snappy things he said. He once said that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. That means that as bad as a hypocrite is, there remains a backhand compliment. An hypocritical adulterer – rotten to the core – at least does not deny that adultery is bad. What is good and right is still being held up as good and right. Hypocrites are many things but the one thing going for them is at least they know what they should be living like. They’ve been faking it all this time! As serious as sin as hypocrisy is, the greater sin is the one which when pressed simply changes what the good and the right is. I’m looking at you, Moral Relativism!
Christians Are Hypocrites! This is a common objection to Christianity and the Church. You must respect this objection to belief because it will invariably be true. Are Christians hypocrites? Some of us sure are. It’s a big problem and Jesus hates it and we need to repent. It’s dangerous to resemble a white-washed tomb appearing clean but in reality being filthy inside. But the only ways to avoid hypocrisy is either to be absolutely perfect or to totally relativize truth.
There really is a difference between good and evil, right and wrong. There was only perfect person and He got crucified. This makes every one of us in danger of being a hypocrite at any given time. In fact, barring being perfect (Impossible!) or changing black to white (also impossible!), there is only one way to avoid hypocrisy. It is to repent and believe in the Gospel. We have sinned and fallen short of not only God’s commands but probably also our own moral standards. In the confession of sins, and the seeking of gracious forgiveness, we’re not just white-washed on the outside but all the rotten bones inside are cleared out. As long as there is good and evil, hypocrisy lies in wait for us. But as long as there is confession of sins and forgiveness, we can be free of it.