So I’m offering my opinions about having opinions, and I’m judging how to be judgmental. This could go downhill really quickly!
As I try to flesh out my concerns, I also want to be cautious not to be hypocritical – how is that helpful to anyone?
British author Samuel Johnson (who wrote a pre-eminent, authoritative English dictionary) offers a useful paradigm on hypocrisy:
Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself. (Rambler No. 14, p. 154)
So one may believe in certain virtues, but struggle in his or her quest to live them out. We’re human, right? And no man is perfect. (Even the one who was wrongly accused of hypocrisy!) Avoiding hypocrisy does not mean that we live out the virtues we claim perfectly. While we may not yet have obtained victory, we are sincerely convinced of their advantages. And I would hope (to overcome Johnson’s allowances) that we would champion each other towards their pursuit with courage and industry.
It’s important. Hypocrisy is so unbecoming – to ourselves and to the Lord. Hypocrisy grieves Him. Our Lord speaks Woe! to hypocrites.
Perhaps even more unhelpful – and even more grievous – is what Johnson characterizes as the all-too-common unjust charge of hypocrisy. Especially when we could be championing each other to victory!
I’m sure this goes without saying : ), but just to be abundantly clear, I am not perfect, and I do not do everything perfectly. I am well aware of that, and the Lord so knows its truth that He gave His life for it. My claim is not that I do these things perfectly. My claim is that I am sincerely convinced of the advantages of this journey, and I so pray we would offer each other grace as we seek to conquer those things of which we are sincerely convinced. I pray I will zealously and carefully seek to practice my following explorations with care, sincerity, and personal examination. And I pray we would champion each other as we quest for victory!