ὑποκριτής , hypocrite, one who pretends to be other than what he/she is
Hypocrisy means that your heart and your actions are out of sync. You are doing things for the wrong reasons. Jesus points out the hypocrites and tells us not to be like them. He points to our prayers and says that they should be heartfelt, and not done to be heard and seen. He points to our giving and says that it should be done in secret, and not broadcast to the rest of the world. Hypocrisy in the Christian life is generally a very bad thing.
But there are also times that you play a part simply because you feel that you have to, and you feel like a hypocrite even though you have the best of intentions. I felt that way this past Sunday. Valerie was finally coming back to church after a seven month hiatus due to her cancer treatments. She had been declared cancer free. Life was finally getting back to normal. And then, Saturday night, right before church, we discovered a lump on her foot. What do we do? We smile and carry on, while on the inside we are struggling.
Why do I share this with you now? Because we are entering into a time of year that can be very difficult for people. Many of us have happy memories from around the holidays. Some of us remember sad or difficult times. Most of us probably have a mixture of both. It is not uncommon for people to hide what they are feeling because they think that it is inappropriate, discouraging, or just too difficult to share. Scripture gives us two pieces of advice to guide us during these times. The first is a good general principle for everyone, but is especially poignant for those who are struggling: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). The second is a reminder that God has given us a community to help us survive and thrive: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Valerie and I never intended to keep what was going on a secret for long. We just hoped to have an answer one way or another before we talked about it. After an x-ray the general consensus seems to be that it’s something to watch, but not something to be concerned about right now. So we watch and wait, and are thankful for each day God brings us. And we are thankful for the community of faith, which helps us to bear our burdens.