I See Your Hypocrisy

Shakespeare was quite adept with masks of hypocrisy.

"I will speak daggers to her, but use none; In this my soul and tongue be hypocrites ... Such an act, that blurs the grace and blush of modesty, calls virtue hypocrite." (Hamlet 3.2.396-7; 3.4.40-2) By rigid definition, falseness reveals a deliberate plot of deception to gain reward.

It is quite interesting that a third of the gospel speaks on phoniness. The religious and impeccably moral Pharisees were most guilty.

Empty talk stems from a true disconnect. We subscribe to something and we act it out only in pretense. The superficiality of duplicity is always bold. Although hidden, it leaks like vapor.

The primary reason of contention for those who disdain the religious is precisely due to the annoying witness of sanctimoniousness. I find myself constantly at odds with this bug.

The difference between religion and the Christian faith lies in its source. All religion comes from man's innate desire for good. Atheism at its finest seeks premium morality. It is defined by evolutionary jargon, but nonetheless, it attempts to form order amidst chaos. Buddhism seeks to provide reclusive mantra against the madness of hurriedness. Islam introduces the depth of reverential piety to claim blessings. All these organic involvements are sourced from the core of human thirst. The insatiability of our soul's longing for rest is universal.

I delved into religion with serious zest. I even tried windows to the occult. I was being drawn into a narrative that strips me naked. I have to be cloaked.

However, the more I put on the clad of religiosity, the more I find myself acting like a seasoned thespian. My soul defects from my intent. I perform before crowds: all too convincing to win Oscars. But then, when the applause dissipates, the clown is left alone, bearing the dagger of my own fraud. Jesus was right: I am a mere white-washed tomb with hidden atrocities.

All these lament are confronted by the startling offer of the Messiah. It is not towards acting that I am called. It is towards a grant that finds no merit in me.

That gift is called η δικαιοσύνη του Θεού (the Righteousness of God).

This imputed grace is diametrically opposed to religiosity. It does not deal with acting rehearsals but precisely involves the heart not with reformation but transformation.

All hypocrisy is confronted by the life-correcting infusion of God's enabling in our lives. This is made possible through the indescribable invitation of Jesus Christ for us to receive Him as mentor for our ineptness. We take His call. He takes our fall.

When I became Christian, I became recipient to extra nos. It is life lived from God's external grace. I no longer subscribe to pretensions. Every once in a while, my carnality shorts my identity. I still catch my propensity to feign but it always dies to the immeasurable love from Christ that is plummeted headlong towards my soul.

God sees through my hypocrisy and leads me out of its theatrical ruse.

No longer a hypocrite, I have become a dumbfounded spectator: I see grace everywhere! 

Photography: Renchi Arce / Art and Soul

Photography: Renchi Arce / Art and Soul