The Paralysis of the Hypocrite

The Bible says that “it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4), and gratefully God used a kind friend to speak truth to my heart this past weekend  and turned my attention in the right direction.  I repented, and changed the direction of my heart and attitude.  Let me explain…

I directed a choir one year at a local Bible College in town and we toured from church to church singing, sharing, and leading others in worship.  It never failed that a student would approach me and say that they “just couldn’t get up and sing because they just weren’t ‘feeling it’, and to sing would make them a hypocrite.”  The problem was that singing in the choir was also a major part of the grade the students received and so I did not offer them an “out” when they weren’t “feeling it.”  What was needed was a change of perspective.  There are things you do because you love to do it, then there are things you do that are right and good and you do them with or without positive feelings.  Parenting is an example.  As much as I would like to say “I don’t feel like being a mom today”, the fact remains that it is my responsibility and there isn’t anyone else given my job.  I get up, feed and clothe my children and tend to their needs.  Sometimes our eyes have to be shifted from our feelings to our responsibilities.

When our feelings do not match our actions, we often call that being a hypocrite, and no one wants to be a hypocrite.  In fact, that is a reason many people claim they will not become a Christian, because they are afraid of being a hypocrite.   They have to be “all in” with their emotions at all times or not at all; but being a hypocrite has little to do with our emotions matching our actions.  Take for instance the parable Jesus spoke about the obedient sons in

Matthew 21:28-32

New International Version (NIV)

 The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’   29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

   30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

   31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

   “The first,” they answered.

   Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Jesus uses this parable to teach that those who who are really His do what He asks.  It is the hypocrite that says they will do something, but really has no intentions to follow through.

Who was commended for obeying?  The one who actually completed the assignment God gave them to do.

So when I do what is right, in line with my beliefs in spite of my feelings I am not a hypocrite.  When I choose to fulfill my responsibilities even if my heart isn’t fully in it, I am not being a hypocrite. I might be a grouch, but not a hypocrite.
The fear of being a hypocrite becomes a paralyzing force.  When we operate in that fear or attitude, we cut off what God wants to accomplish in and through us.  That is what God brought to my attention this past weekend.  I was allowing a fear of hypocrisy to keep me from finishing a task God gave me to do.
Many of you know that I recorded an album this spring that I have planned to release, and although there are budgeting issues that have slowed the process down for me, at the heart of my delay has been the paralyzing force of hypocrisy.  I want to release this album with all of these songs that God has given me about his grace and comfort in the storms and I want to sing them as one who has come through the trials and is rejoicing on the other side, but instead, I find myself in the thick of another storm with the fog and confusion and pain being very real.  Do I release this album and sing the songs even if I at this time do not know the outcome of my storms?  The answer, through the voice of the Holy Spirit to me this weekend was “yes.” Just because I cannot determine the outcomes of my storms, I can, very confidently sing of the faithfulness and grace of God because that is unchanging and constant no matter what storm I am in.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  No, it makes God glorified.
So, as a result of God’s conversation with me this past weekend, I am determined to finish what I have started because of who He is and what He has done for me.  My confidence is no longer hinging on me or my emotions.  My confidence is in Him.
So let me be an encouragement to you today.  If God has given you an assignment, or gift to use for His glory, do not let your life be paralyzed by the fear of hypocrisy.  That perspective will keep you in a constant state of inactivity and will keep your eyes on yourself and not on your God.  Step beyond your emotions and attitudes into obedience to the Lord and keep walking.
As my friend Frank Gardner signs off his letters, I sign off this blog:
Together in the yoke,
Cate Morris