I don’t like being wrong. In fact, I hate it. Those of you who know me are undoubtedly chuckling at how true this statement is. The only thing that’s worse is when other people point out that I’m wrong or I need to fix something. A great example is that I’m not a great verbal communicator. Without getting into the reasons, it’s more risky than written and typically gets messier. This morning, I was thinking about a friend and his own lack of communication and how it bothered me. I wanted to address the situation in the near future and realized mid-thought it would only be the pot calling the kettle black. In other words, while I recognize I have the same problem, I found it far easier to ignore the plank in my eye and, in true hypocrisy, point out the splinter in this other person’s. Because, this hypocrisy is far more comfortable.
The smack of imperfection
When it’s not a power play, it really stings to admit imperfection. I have no problem, as I’m sure is the common case, in admitting imperfection when I make a mistake. In fact, it works in my favor to do so. What about when I’m trying to point something out in someone else? What about the times when I’m trying to be right? I don’t see that intrinsic value then. What about when I’m trying to be whole, to recover from a time of profound brokenness? I only want to focus on becoming whole. The hypocrisy shelters me from the perceived defeat or looking back of imperfection.
Bound to imperfection
Imperfection is the only state in which we can take part in community. What?! Take your vision of perfection and supplant them in today’s society. I think you’ll agree that it would not be a pretty sight. On top of that, I know I’m not in danger of coming too close to perfection in any immediate period of time. Maybe you’re different, but I need the imperfect people around me. I need to learn from their lessons. I need to struggle alongside them and I need them to struggle alongside me. Because, while this life is fleeting, the road is long and I need help. In a moment of honesty, I need grace and I need grace in any way that God can spare. If that means it comes through the cracked vessels of friends, family and strangers, then so be it. But community, look at Acts 2, even from the beginning it was about people being broken and coming together to make one another and be made whole. And it was beautiful.
The rebound that is brokenness
Honesty, brokenness is the only remedy for a heart shrouded in hypocrisy. That brokenness is defeat, friends, is to believe a great lie. Unfortunately, it’s a lie our culture has grabbed hold of with knuckles, white. Brokenness flies smack dab in the face of the power of one. Brokenness says that I am OK, but I need more, I need a Perfecter, I need community to be well. It says that one is good, but more is best. Brokenness says that I am responsible for my growth and health, but I am not crushed by the astounding burden. There are others who willingly share the weight and I theirs. We are all equal. Beautiful, capable, important. Alas, this is one of the hardest lessons for a culture of vultures.
Friends, I invite you to correct me if I’m wrong, but this culture, of which I am a willing participant, is one steeped in hypocrisy. And to make matters worse, we fight tooth and nail against true repentance, brokenness. We resist brokenness because we have believed that it is weakness, an admission of defeat. And defeat is a chink in the armor we cannot afford. But what if this nation of islands is a violent swing away from true health and ability? What if the true power of the individual is borne of inclusion in the collective? Friends, our true ability is expressed fully only in community. And to be in community, we must be broken and honest. We have to be vulnerable, but that only comes when we’re ready to leave the nest and its comfort of hypocrisy.