A couple days ago, on a very busy morning on base, Beth called me and said she had a big problem. On the way home from dropping the kids at school, she got a flat tire. Apparently, as she was making a turn, an oncoming car caused her to take the turn too tightly, and she hit the curb.
We didnt have time to deal with this. I have to confess that the first thing that came to my mind was to ask her how she could have been so careless. But of course I didnt say that, especially since it was only two months ago when I hit a curb and flattened a tire myself!
Instead, I asked where she was stranded and drove over to pick her up. Guess what, she had hit the exact same curb that I did, and popped the exact same tire! She had pulled down to the exact same intersection. I too was driving back from dropping the kids at school when it happened, and the same circumstance had caused me to take the corner too tight.
Now I was feeling pretty rotten for how I responded in my mind when she first called. I was relieved that I hadn’t said anything critical to her, but convicted that the thought was there.
Have you ever gotten angry with or criticized someone else over something that you are guilty of yourself? Its called hypocrisy, and no one likes a hypocrite! Jesus often rebuked the religious leaders of his day for their hypocrisy with scathing words. He would say things like, “Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matt 23:27,28
The book of Romans also addresses hypocrisy in chapter 2 when it says, “you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:21-24
There is nothing more disgusting than a hypocrite. And God will deal with those who practice it. Romans 2:1-5 shows us his disdain for it. “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
Wasnt it the kindness of God that led YOU to repentance? Because of his kindness, he bestowed great long-suffering and patience with you until you repented, and now you cast judgment on someone else? Yikes, Thats a bad heart condition to have.
So todays lesson is simple. Don’t be a quick to cast judgment on others, especially if you are guilty of the same things. Don’t be a hypocrite!