by Stan Mitchell
A young man speaks to his wife of ten years:
“I don’t love you any more, and it would be hypocritical of me to continue acting as if I love you when I don’t. I’m leaving you for (whoever it is he mentions). What she and I have is real love.”
What’s fascinating about this scenario is that the one speaking has made a virtue out of an act that would normally be considered spectacularly immoral. Our man might be selfish, feckless and cruel, but please note he’s no hypocrite.
- Where did we get the idea that if we felt anger or resentment toward someone we should give our wrath full vent rather than controlling our words?
- Where did we get the idea that if someone did not merit our love we could simply dismiss them from our minds?
- Where did we get the idea that biblical love, godly love, was something we could fall in to, or out of?
- Where did we learn that we could simply walk away from God and his people and make a virtue of that action because to do otherwise would be “hypocritical”?
The lesson from hypocrisy is not to become a foul pagan, but to do the right things with sincerity.
The book of Proverbs frequently counsels us to control our words, not just blurt them out:
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin,” (Proverbs 13:3, ESV).
One of the fruits of the Spirit is “self-control” (Galatians 5:23).
The problem, of course, is that we have confused the nature of biblical love with hormonal overflow. If all it took to be in a loving marriage were hormones, then thirteen-year-olds would be prime candidates for marriage. Their raging hormones seem to occur at an optimum level.
Hollywood (and our selfish hearts) has told us that love equals romance, the heart, something we fall in to, or logically fall out of. Biblical love insists that we be loving to those who do not deserve it, when we no longer feel like it, when it is not convenient.
Biblical love is a behavior, not a warm fuzzy feeling. Love is tough. It overcomes obstacles. It does not walk out on its commitments. It is selfless. In a word, it is what Christ did for us.
Can you imagine Jesus declaring:
“I don’t feel like dying for those people (he didn’t); they’re not worthy of my love (we weren’t), and it would be hypocritical of me to act as if I do feel like it.”
- People walk away from church because they do not understand that true love is a commitment to others.
- People leave the Lord because they do not understand that commitment is an integral part of love.
- People turn their backs on marriage because they see it only in terms of how it makes them happy.
True love does not desert when something better comes along, it exhibits determination when the times get tough.