Photo by Alex Iby
Hypocrisy is a word much bandied about these days. Heard it ad nauseam as a pastor. “I don’t go to the church because of all those hypocrites!” The word often refers to someone who is two-faced or inconsistent in words and deed.
It always amazed me that marauders visiting a church solely for their own benefit, accused everyone else of hypocrisy. Assuming their lives void of such a malady, they cast disdain for an entire group of people. Seems, hypocrisy is everyone else’s deficit, but mine. Right?
Hypocrisy – To Wear a Mask
Interestingly, “hypocrite” comes from two words describing one who acts pretentiously, a counterfeit, and a person who acts under a feigned character. A hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something he or she is not. It refers literally to the delivery of a speech, along with interpretive gestures and imitation. Hypocrisy involves the art of mask-wearing.
The Facade of Mask Wearing
The word hypocrisy comes from ancient Greek theater and referred to the practice of putting on a mask and playing a part on stage. By wearing a mask, an actor could project a character. That character projected was not the actual person behind the mask. There was the real person and the unreal projected person. Hypocrisy is the practice of projecting a disingenuous person; a fake.
The Mendacity of Mask Wearing
Hypocrisy in the New Testament carries only negative connotations. Referring to duplicity, it implies the quality belying one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action. Insincerity, dissimulation, or hiding under false pretense is the idea here. Disguising one's thoughts or feelings for deceptive motives is a contaminant we all display from time to time.
The Practice of Pretending
The idea of hypocrisy is to pretend or to act as something one is not. It creates an impression that is at odds with one’s real purposes or motivations. Hypocrisy is characterized by play-acting, pretense, or outward show. It means to give an impression of having certain purposes or motivations, while having quite different ones, usually to the harm of another individual.
Removing Our Masks
Because of the tentacles of hypocrisy’s malady, Peter in the New Testament warned us of its destructive powers. I suppose, Peter, more than any other disciple, understood masks better than most. Claiming to love Christ more than anyone else, he quickly denounced Jesus when under pressure. He sought position and power while claiming dedication to only Christ. Yes, Peter wore many masks. As he matured, he laid aside those masks. He’s emphatic when it comes to hypocrisy.
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy,
envy, and all evil speaking,
1 Peter 2:1 (NKJV)
Removing My Masks
I generally try to project a supportive happy kind of guy. However, put me in a line at the airport waiting to board a plane, watching people trying to jump in front of me to acquire a preferred seat that I paid for and they did not, well, let’s just say, I can be a grumpy bugger at times. Which mask is the real me? Happy Supportive Guy or Grumpy Bugger Guy? Hum . . .
They’ll tell you. Laying aside hypocrisy is the idea of taking off or removing a piece of clothing. The encouragement here by Peter is to take off our masks of hypocrisy and lay them aside.
Not sure about your masks? Family usually sees our masks. Just ask your family members. You may experience a rude confrontation. Who we really are, often is revealed to our family members.
Mask – A Soul Destroyer
"Dear friends, I warn you to keep away from worldly desires
that wage war against your very souls.”
1 Peter 2:11 (NLT)
We all project someone we are not at times. Identifying our masks, and removing them, is perhaps, a lifelong challenge for most of us. It’s a necessary challenge because hypocrisy is a cancer that wars against our souls.
If we will look at ourselves honestly, there’s a mask on every one of us. Perhaps, two or three masks.
Let’s try to identify and remove our masks. In doing so, one might find a happier, healthier, and more honest you.
Just My Thoughts,
Excerpt from Son Risings - Discovering and Caring for the Real You - by Don Mingo