My wise Uncle asked once, “Who is a hypocrite?” To which I answered, “Anyone who is NOT Jesus Christ.”
We are all hypocrites in one way or another. But…The difference between letting hypocrisy have a foothold in your family and your own life vs. having victory over your hypocrisy (no matter the sin!) is this: you NEVER gloss over your own sin in order to expose the sin of others. No matter how thinly veiled your effort, people, especially your children, will immediately see right through that veil. And if not immediately, they will soon enough. Because it is inevitable. The things that you judge about others are almost ALWAYS in your own heart – and your kids KNOW IT. They see the hypocrisy in your teaching because they correctly identify the same unconfessed and possibly even completely denied sin in your own heart.
Kids can identify a hypocrite a mile away – and they turn and run from it. They HATE hypocrisy. And rightly so.
And if our children are supposed to be our main focus – how can we effectively shepherd them through this life if they do not trust us because of the hypocrisy in our own hearts.
My children know I’m hypocritical at times. I do not hide it from them. Your children know you better than anyone else. They know the motivations behind everything you do – no matter how much you try and justify your actions/beliefs to them – they KNOW when you are sinning. They just want you to be real with them.
Children don’t want to be preached at. They just want you to walk alongside them.
I’d dare say that 99.9% of adults have the same desire. They don’t want to be preached at and judged by their like counterparts. They just want someone to walk along side them and hold their hand, and pray when necessary, and love living this life in the fellowship of the saints!
And you better believe this: even if you think you CAN control whatever image it is you want to promote of your family – generally your sin will find you out by way of your children’s naturally honest witness. See, children don’t really understand how to be cunning, manipulative and dishonestly controlling. When children speak, they speak truth because they do not know HOW to say one thing and have a hidden agenda behind their tongue. But they do know how to identify when their parents are doing that to them or to others – and they hate it. I’ve seen this in my life – and I’ve seen it in my friends lives over and over again. Mom says one thing – kids speak the truth that contradicts their mothers account! When my kids do that to me, I generally have to stop and say, “Oh…yeah…you are right. I’m sorry.” Those moments are so convicting to me.
And I really have learned that I must be very careful about the company I keep. When I hang around fellow Christians who I KNOW are living a hypocritical life – I think it probably affects me as it affects my children having to live with me when I’m not walking in truth. It repells me from them – and eventually our friendship will be ruined because I can not stand to be around hypocrites who are professing Christ out of one side of their mouth and then using that same profession to judge and condemn others.
That’s what our kids see in us when we pretend to be one thing – and they can see right through it. It repells our children from us.
We need to be really careful to guard our hearts against hypocrisy. At all times.