One of the challenges of living today is – surviving in the midst of blatant hypocrisy. As one looks around, whether in the political scenario, global scenario, faith based communities, family lives and individual and leaders lives, we find this open divide. A divide between what they speak and what they do. A divide between their personal lives and public life. A divide between what is expected and what comes out in life. This has become more of a challenge since self-promotion and covering what is not worth promoting is seen as acceptable, at all levels of interaction. When hypocrisy becomes an accepted way of life, one is faced with some complex questions.
The question of giving up on the context. The question one would struggle with is, shall I give up on the context where I am. You are in one context and you see lives which do not match up to your standards or values which the community you are part of expects, (especially in the lives of people you look up to or in leadership,) you decide to give up on the context. The hope is that you will find another context or community which is closer to the ideals you have set up for yourself.
The second question one faces is one of giving up on people. You may or may not give up on the context, but you definitely want to give up on the people. People whom you think is beyond change. People with whom you think it is not worth wasting our time and energy on. The perception here is that people should change and if not we should give up and align ourselves with others who are open to change and are willing to be on the journey of change. Or give up on working with people but become consultants who give good theoretical models but not expected to rub shoulders with difficult people.
The third (generally unsaid) question one faces is to give up on your own character. One tends to move into a “Complacency” and “Callousness”. The ideals are slowly forgotten and one decides that all those ideals were something which you thought realistic when you were young. Now that you have become more “wise” it is no more realistic, and you decide to scale down on your ideals to a more “acceptable” level.
The forth question one faces is to live a detached life. I will be what I should be, let others be what they want to be. I become the “right one” others become the wrong ones. I also end up thinking that I am the only one, who is alone struggling, but pumps up the courage to pull on, because you do not want to compromise…
As you read the Good book you find many who struggled like this. They were all “Lone vices” in the desert of relative morality and hypocrisy. Noah was a lone voice in the midst of a corrupt generation. Abraham was a lone voice in the midst of a directionless generation. Joseph was a lone voice in the midst of a confused family. Daniel was a lone voice in the midst of a corrupt empire. Elijah was a lone voice in the midst of a Nation which had lost all values and directions!
But they never gave up on their context, people, character nor did become self-righteous or go into self-pity (except Elijah for a few days!)
At the same time Paul says “Love - It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” To love and persevere in the midst of hypocrisy – one needs enabling grace!
This is what the Master role modelled. Despite being rejected, abused, spat at and crucified, he still loved….A difficult model to emulate – but not impossible because His grace is given to us….Lone voices and Love – can I be the lone voice which loves at any cost…
At the same time it may be good for me to ask myself - am I part of this generation, am I also hypocritical, if so what do I do.....?