Recently my neighbor loudly declared me a hypocrite in front of my 10 year old daughter. Had she said it only once, I may not be writing this blog, but having been repeatedly called a hypocrite I have since given it more thought. First, let me explain the reason for the claim.
I wanted to spend some time with my daughter. I recently started working and find I need to be more proactive in having fun with her. I decided to join her for rollerblading. I have done this many times over the years. This time will forever be etched in my memory.
Before we made it out of the driveway, I twisted my knee, and went down. The twist was quite significant for my forty year old knee. (We just don’t bounce back like we used to). As it turns out I tore the cartilage in my right knee. Fortunately it is a fairly surface injury and although inconvenient, it is healing nicely. I have much to be thankful for.
A couple of days later, as I hobbled over to my neighbor’s house, the first question out of her mouth was “Were you wearing a helmet?” I was not, this time. To which she loudly proclaimed me a hypocrite as I insist that my children wear one, and I was not. I usually am the safety police, as all my friends will attest to. This time I quite simply forgot, also a problem with the big 4 0. My injury did not come near my head, but that was not on the table for discussion, because the table was full of my hypocrisy. I must say, I have never been so loudly and plainly called a hypocrite before, especially in front of my daughter.
Interestingly, my daughter has referred to hypocrisy at other times. I thought it was cute as she said, “that guy is a hypmocrite”. Her mispronunciation made me smile, as those cute verbal mistakes are all too rare these days. What was interesting to me was that even though she still cannot pronounce it she has a full grasp on the true meaning of the word and concept.
As a Christian there are many people that would call me a hypocrite, just because I identify myself as a Christian. After all, “Those Christians are hypocrites!” To which I would say yes, as a group we are.But then I would ask the person pointing the finger, are they not a hypocrite too?
I know I have goals aspirations and ideas that I hold dear, but I don’t follow each of them perfectly. I believe that we should wear helmets when biking or rollerblading, to protect the noggin. Yet although I believe that and practice it regularly, I forgot, and now live with the neighborhood stigma of being a hypocrite.
In other areas of my life the same is true. I also don’t want my kids to eat too much candy, cake, or chips. I want them to have healthy eating habits and exercise well to have healthy bodies. Yet I make a fast track to the chocolate cupboard myself. I do want what is best for each of us. I try to teach my kids the right way to do things, even if I myself am not perfect at it. Because, Guess what?! I AM NOT PERFECT! But that does not excuse me from holding to and teaching the right way to do things. I want and need to teach my kids the right way even in the areas I struggle with.
If we look at this issue a little more broad, out of the parenting arena, the same is true of church people, we are not perfect, we will make mistakes and if that by definition makes me a hypocrite. Yes, I am a hypocrite, but then be fair, you are one too. I have only met one perfect person. Because I have met Him it puts me in that category of being called a hypocrite because of my faith. He is the reason I go to church. He is the reason I am called a Christian. His name is Jesus. By claiming Him as my friend I associate myself with His standard, which I uphold as a desire to be like Him, yet can never attain, because He is perfect and I unfortunately am not.
I sat my daughter down and explained to her that yes I am a hypocrite, in fact we all are if we strive to achieve certain standards of right vs. wrong, healthy choices vs. what my body craves or moral values vs. selfishness. Since she has been accusing others of being a “hypmocrite”, we also talked about not judging others. Judgments leave an equally displeasing taste as hypocrisy.
I will continue to teach the “right” way to do things, while being more tolerant of my own imperfections and that of those around me. In the process I will extend grace instead of judgment. Wouldn’t life be simpler and more pleasant if we all did that? Even as I write this I know I will not be perfect in not judging and extending grace, sigh. But I will do my best.
The only perfect person is Jesus. He is never a hypocrite, always loves me exactly as I am, and is very forgiving.