November 06, 2006
According to dictionary.com, a hypocrite is:
1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
The problem is that I'm not sure that Haggard was faking his beliefs. I see him as someone who was striving to be what God wanted him to be, and struggled with hidden desires that he couldn't tell anyone about. Ted Haggard is genuine in his beliefs, and genuine in his faith. The problem is that he struggled, and just as with so many high-profile preachers before him, he tried to handle things on his own. Rather than turning to God to help him defeat the temptation, he gave in.
I'm reminded of what the Apostle Paul had to say to the Roman Christians. "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Rom 7:15)" Was Paul, then, a hypocrite?
I would challenge anyone, right or left, to allow your every action to be examined. Is there any of us that are consistent with the things we say we believe? Darwinists who are conservationists are hypocrites -- they SAY they believe in natural selection, survival of the fittest, and all that, but they WORK to preserve species that cannot (or at least, have yet to) adapt to their surroundings. People who are pro-life often advocate the death penalty -- isn't that at the very least a bit inconsistent? Christians say they're committed to God, that they love Him, but only show up at His house once a week, for an hour. Treat your spouse that way sometime, and see what happens.
The point is, we are all inconsistent. We all believe things, and believe them strongly, that we cannot live. We all hold to ideals that we fall short of. And that's where grace comes in. That's where God sends us the Holy Spirit, who gives us the power to live according to our beliefs when we are filled by Him. The key is recognizing that we cannot do it on our own.
If inconsistency is hypocrisy, then we're all guilty. The fact that Ted Haggard's inconsistency was broadcast to the entire world is only an indication of how powerful and influential he is. The rest of us should be thankful that our own inconsistencies aren't available for public consumption.
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