“Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” Who could trust a teacher that doesn’t follow his own advice?
This apothegm is a laser focused definition of hypocrisy. One who speaks this way, or better said, one who teaches this way, is likely to see their students confused, angry, and rebellious. As a leader, husband, and father, the most efficient way to build deadly walls in relationships is to live life as a hypocrite.
I realize this brings nothing new to the table. Everyone experiences hypocrisy; from parents, bosses, co-workers, and governments. All react the same way toward hypocrisy, with clenched fists and gnashing teeth.
Studies reveal clearly that children will be more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol and drugs, and live in a host of other harmful ways if they grow up observing their parents doing the same. It’s not effective teaching your children the dangers of tobacco with a pack of cigarettes in your pocket.
Again, this is nothing you didn’t already know. It’s nothing you haven’t already experienced. It’s obvious.
There is a type of hypocrisy, however, that is less obvious. Paul warns the church in Corinth:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
(1 Corinthians 13:1-2, ESV)
This is one of the most amazing statements in the Apostle Paul’s teaching. Think about what he is saying. As a leader, you have studied to the point that your knowledge is vast. This knowledge is truth and it is powerful. It is building faith in you that is strong enough to move mountains. Yet, you lack the one thing that makes it all valuable; “LOVE”. How can this be?
Listen to what R.C. Sproul Jr. stated in a recent blog to pastors,” It is more important to us and our sheep that we would learn to believe more, than that we would find more to believe.”
He continues saying, “Divinity is not a body of knowledge to be mastered like geology.” The Bible is not a book to be dissected like Moby Dick. We don’t go to Scripture to study the Word, but to begin to learn to have the Word study us. We go to pursue not advanced degrees but the fruit of the Spirit. We go to lose our reputations, not to gain them. We go not to be thought wise, but to learn what fools we are.
The people that you lead don’t simply need more information. What they need more is someone to lead them, to show them the Way. They need to see you repenting. They need to see you wrestling with your sins. They need to see you preaching the gospel to yourself, not because you like the sound of your voice, but because you hate the sin that yet remains, and you need grace. They need to see you rejoicing in the fullness of His promises, and mourning both sin and its fruit in your life.
As we relate to one another, I am convinced that the single most powerful moment on earth takes place when a father repents before his wife and children; when a leader repents before his employees. So, is the knowledge in your life under-girded by love? If it is you will live a life repenting before our Holy God. This is the litmus test of love. This is a life free from hypocrisy.