Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How To Avoid Being a Hypocrite


In 2009 Richard and Mayumi Heene launched a helium balloon in Colorado and tearfully exclaimed to authorities that their six-year-old son, Falcon, had accidentally climbed inside. A frenetic chase began with helicopters following the balloon until it finally landed not far from Denver International Airport. But the boy was not in the balloon. Some thought he had fallen out along the way. Finally the boy was found safely hiding in the rafters in his family's garage. Everyone, especially the parents, were relieved.

The next day the Richard, Mayumi, and Falcon were interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Blitzer asked the boy why he had stayed in the garage? The boy famously answered, "You guys said that, um, we did this for the show." Blitzer didn't catch the comment and later ignored it when told about it by the control room. The next day the three were interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today. When Falcon was asked about his earlier comment, he vomited. Very soon after that the whole thing was determined to be a hoax perpetrated to gain media attention.

The "Balloon Boy" incident teaches us some good lessons about hypocrisy. Poor Falcon suffered from what psychologists call "cognitive dissonance." He couldn't bear holding onto the lie anymore. He struggled with it until it had to come out, and it did in more ways than one! But the parents suppressed their hypocrisy. All of us are faced with the same dilemma from time to time.

Jesus had some incredibly harsh things to say about hypocrisy. In the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat (Matthew 13.24-30; 36-43), He warned that hypocrisy would finally be condemned in the last judgment. In Matthew 23 Jesus devoted and entire chapter to the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. Obviously hypocrisy is a serious problem, and Jesus doesn't talk about it just to condemn the hard-boiled hypocrites. He's also warning all of us "soft-boiled" hypocrites.

All of us are born into sin as David affirms in Psalm 51.5 "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." The heart of sin is hypocrisy because all temptation is a lie. Like Adam and Eve and Falcon, we can be drawn into it. That's bad enough. But what happens next is critically important. If we suppress it and abide in it, we will eventually be destroyed by it. If we struggle against it and repent of it, it will be destroyed, but we will be saved. The only weapon that can destroy a lie is the truth. Jesus came, the truth of God in the flesh, to destroy the lies and deceptions of sin in the flesh.

But there is even more good news. Not only does God forgive us when we get caught in hypocrisy, He also gives us some good ways to prevent it. Hypocrisy is a lie that we are tempted to use to try to get something. The problem is that lies never get us what we want. They actually give us much worse. To avoid hypocrisy Jesus urges us to put our trust in Him. He gives us the truth and promises to save us in the truth. David also talked about this: "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom" (Psalm 51.6). When the temptations to hypocrisy creep into our lives, it is good to recognize them, repent of them, and look to Jesus to lead us to the good things that only come through by the truth.

Hymn:  "I Am Trusting Thee Lord Jesus"  LSB 729

Evening Prayer Service - July 26, 2017