Hypocrisy is commonly cited as a reason for not attending church. Admittedly, hypocrisy is not hard to find in church. But in reality, hypocrisy is not hard to find anywhere. The human heart is bent toward hypocrisy. Jesus warned us about judging hypocritically when he said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?…You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:3,5) In this context, Jesus was not condemning all judgments (he was not taking away our ability to call things right and wrong), just hypocritical judgments.
Hypocrisy abounds even among secularists who have attempted to establish certain key principles that they themselves have failed to follow. Two examples of these principles are religious tolerance and moral relativism. According to Webster, tolerance is, “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” One tolerates those with whom he disagrees. However, tolerance in our society is now intolerance in disguise. In the name of religious tolerance, Christmas trees are removed, prayers are forbidden, Bibles are disallowed, and the name of Jesus cannot be mentioned; these actions do not exemplify religious tolerance. When someone desires to limit the free exercise of religion because it is offensive, they are clearly being intolerant. The courts should not limit the freedom of religion (as is the trend) because of the offended; they need to direct the offended to grow up, and suggest they look up the definition of tolerance. For the secularist to desire the appearance of tolerance, when they are in fact intolerant, is nothing short of hypocrisy.
Moral relativism is another example of hypocrisy in our society. A moral relativist is one who suggests there are no objective standards of right and wrong. A relativist might say something like, “that might be wrong for you, but it is not wrong for me.” In reality, however, there’s really no such thing as a true moral relativist. The idea of moral relativism is just a ploy in an attempt to tear down an old morality (the Judeo/Christian ethic) and establish a new morality. Many who claim to be moral relativists will protest the war, push for acceptance of certain lifestyles, and denounce the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy. Having an idea of what’s right, expecting others to agree with oneself, and desiring to impact laws and public policy are not the activities of a relativist, but of an absolutist. An absolutist who attempts to pass himself off as a moral relativist is in reality a hypocrite.
All of this is to show that hypocrisy abounds everywhere. If someone uses hypocrisy as an excuse for not attending church, then it should also be an excuse for not leaving the house. And if they choose seclusion to avoid hypocrisy, they should, by all means, avoid looking in the mirror.
Billy Elkins is the pastor of Trinity Church of Chickasha, OK. He is a graduate of Chickasha High School, has a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, FT. Worth, TX. He is currently in the final dissertation phase of a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Philosophy from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.