Yesterday, two politicians were uncovered as hypocrites.   One was a Democrat.  The other was a Republican.  When the Democrat claimed to be a veteran of Viet Nam when he wasn’t, everyone dislikes it.  When a pro-family Republican is found having an affair, he is forced to resign.  No one likes a hypocrite. 

I’ve wondered for years why we hate hypocrites so much.  It seems that whenever a Christian’s sins are exposed, it isn’t the actual transgression that disgusts people.  It is the hypocrisy of the person.  I’ve found minimal research that explains our intense emotions when facing raw hypocrisy.  After years of pondering the phenomena, I’ve come up with a couple of reasons why we all find hypocrisy so repulsive.

  1. Hypocrisy exposes a deep character flaw.
  2. An action can be forgiven.  A character flaw is almost impossible to change.  Therefore, while forgiveness can happen, we instinctively understand that the offender will continue in her pattern of behavior. 
  3. When a person has a character flaw, he doesn’t often come to repentance.  Everyone else is blamed for the action.  Circumstances caused the failure.  “The devil made me do it.”  Without true confession and repentance, there cannot be change.
  4. Finally, and most important,  we all hate the thing in others that dwells in us.  In the deepest recesses of our being, we understand that we are all hypocrites. 

In ministering with people within the mentally challenged community, we seldom have to deal with hypocrisy or their hatred of it.  I don’t think it’s because our community doesn’t understand the complexity of this sin.  After all, they do comprehend other complicated human interactions.  I believe it is because they are almost never hypocritical.  This is one of the things which we all admire about the people with whom we minister.  It is also the reason why they are able to give unconditional love more often than folks who claim to be normal. 

Often, when people explain our population, terms such as totally honest, completely transparent  or without guile are used to describe them.  We admire this transparency even if we are told, “You have bad breath,” or “Your hair is really ugly today.”  Finding a people who don’t indulge in hypocrisy is like finding an oasis in the desert or having a rescue boat discover you after being lost at sea. 

When we uncover the hypocrite, we sense that we have exposed a part of us.  On the other hand, when we discover a people void of these hypocritical tendencies, we discover a people we desire to become.  Within our spirit, we understand that with Christ’s love and following the example of our mentors within the mentally challenged community, we can overcome this deeply embedded character flaw.