Hypocrisy – the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
Conversation lacking intellectual honesty tends to really bother me. Unfortunately, it happens to be a hallmark of current American cultural discourse. Jesus also seemed to have great grace for the “sinner” and strong rebuke for the hypocrite. If the Jesus of the Bible were on earth today, how would he assess our partisan mudslinging?
As the Bible says, “Let him hear, who has ears to hear…”
- My president is a good man, with a few, forgivable mistakes in his past – like all of us; your president is immoral and must be held accountable for every past decision and life choice.
- My president wisely uses executive orders to do the work of the people over the hurdles thrown at him by an obstructionist congress; your president subverts the constitution of the United States for his own political gain.
- My president wisely raises the debt ceiling to borrow in order to maintain the country’s economy; your president is a thief, stealing our children’s future.
- My president works with his party to get things done and avoids the persecution of those horrible people on the other side of the aisle; your president is partisan and simply refuses to work with my party.
- My president is God’s man; your president says he’s a Christian but only for political appearances.
- My president deftly compels states to do the right things through the power of the federal government; your president tramples on state’s rights and is a Big-Government Socialist.
- My president doesn’t deal with long-term issues in Medicare and Social Security because he cares about our elderly; your president kicks these problems down the road to future generations so he can use entitlements to pander for Baby Boomer votes.
- My president has wisely evolved; your president is a flip-flopper.
- My president has to endure unfair criticism and name-calling as has never before been seen; your president is a foreign-born, non-Christian, pedophile, thief, narcissist who deserves to be tarred and feathered and thrown out of office.
- My president has been investigated with “witch hunts” that cost millions of dollars and take time away from doing the peoples’ business; your president is a crook. We must spare no amount of time and expense to preserve the rule of law.
- Your president is a liar; my president uses alternate facts.
- My president faces an unfair media that’s always out to get him; We are fortunate to have the “fourth estate of democracy,” the media, to dig into everything your president does.
- Every negative thing said or written about my president is “Fake News”; your president is a pedophile, non-Christian, dead set on subverting our constitution and overturning our democracy. I know this because I read it on my favorite conspiracy theory website.
My prediction is most who read this will be convinced I am talking about someone other than the reader him or herself.
“You’re so right about the other side,” you likely think.
I encourage you to stop and ask yourself if you fit into the hypocritical subtext, at all. Think about the most recent past president from the “other” party. What did you say or think about that president?
In American culture, tearing at the character of elected officials has become common practice. Though this might seem a normal, common occurrence, I want to point out the Bible says something very different:
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17)
Maybe God would have true followers to bite our tongues and be a little less vitriolic about our ‘rights’ for the honor of God and of each other. Thirteen times in the New Testament Christians are told to honor and pray for those in authority. Never once, in the New Testament, are we told that Jesus blessed the work of the zealots (people who wanted a military overthrow of government) or the harshest critics of the tyrannical Roman government. In fact, Jesus refused to take part in the civic arguments and turned over the tables in anger at the religious people.
Today, God-followers can set themselves apart by displaying a self-sacrificial integrity that gives room to honor our leaders. And in that honor, we gain the right to call our leaders to their righteous purpose and a higher level of integrity. Calling elected officials names and treating them with disdain actually forfeits our spiritual and righteous authority to be an influencer and transformative in civic governance.
If we actually believe the Bible, we can understand that God loves good government – government that brings justice (not his laws.) The Bible says that government rests on Jesus’ shoulders and that a just government will keep increasing, as will the peace it provides. Knowing this truth gives us freedom from living as victims and to be people of honor and integrity who can justly hold our elected officials accountable.
I believe the repentance of this mindset by the evangelical church will be an amazing transformation to our culture through the relationship with culture that Church will be able to enjoy. Let it be so, I pray.