Love Without Hypocrisy
As brothers in Christ, we are given this counsel:
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
- Romans 12:9-10
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
- 1 Peter 1:22-23
Hypocrisy is defined as: “the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do; behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.” “The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.” It is, in essence, living outside of truth. Not being true to others or to one’s self.
Hypocrisy is not an inherent trait in mankind. We know this because children respond naturally and authentically to their environment unless they are trained, either directly or by example, to respond differently. Thus, hypocrisy is bred into the human race as a result of inconsistent counsel, unfair rules, covert agendas, and things like these. It is an almost guarantee of discord in the family as it breeds distrust, stifles communication, hinders love and ultimately results in total breakdown.
Living hypocritically also stunts spiritual growth. And prolonged hypocrisy kills it. While it may appear easier to say one thing and do another, in reality, living such a life takes a tremendous toll on our emotional stability since it requires constantly looking over the shoulders to see who is watching. And it shows a lack of respect for the spirit of God that dwells inside each one of us. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19)
In giving counsel to parents, Paul wrote:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
- Ephesians 6:4
Living hypocritically is irritating to children who will quickly lose respect for such parents and their parent’s religious beliefs. Children seem to have an innate ability to sense hypocrisy, perhaps because they do not have a lot of emotional baggage that would cloud their judgment. And they may even turn away from God and choose to lead ‘double lives,’ believing religion to be nothing more than a parent’s fantasy that even the parents do not believe in. Such parents should not be surprised if they discover their children have a secret life of drug use, sexual promiscuity and profanity.
On the other hand, a wise and loving parent will discover that living openly and honestly will show their children that it is safe to approach them with their questions, no matter how sensitive or how personal. Honest living includes parents opening up about their own shortcoming, rather than hiding their truth under the guise of sheltering them or protecting them from life’s realities. In this way, such parents learn to walk with their children through their trials to show them how to make wise decisions, rather than running behind them cleaning up their messes.
And all in the family should take Jesus’ counsel:
“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
- Matthew 5:37
This counsel is especially beneficial in a spiritually divided home. Even though there may be different views of God or religion or religious beliefs, honesty and openness can still exist and permeate the family. In fact, rather than working to ‘convert’ your family members, a wiser course would be ‘converse’ by promoting fair and open communication without fear of attack, belittlement, condemnation, or judgment. Remember, a true spiritual awakening only comes from self-realization, when a person is able to see him or herself in the message. That can hardly occur when the message is presented in a condemnatory tone.
We can foster trust in the home by unhypocritically exhibiting the ‘mind of Christ’ and ‘letting our yes mean yes.’ This is the type of soil into which the plain and open teachings of Jesus can be implanted and in time, the tiny mustard seed of sonship can develop in your family members who are a little behind the ‘spiritual times.’