Hypocrisy, humbling, and healing

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. embarrassed herself recently by publicly misattributing and misappropriating a verse from the Bible. You can read about that here. As a Muslim, she doesn’t hold the New Testament to be authoritative, but she saw what she thought was an opportunity to stick it to a Christian Republican by quoting a text that he does consider authoritative. Unfortunately for her it backfired.

There’s one particular verse that non-Christians are quick to quote in response to Christians’ views on lifestyles and personal behavior.

“Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Matthew 7:1

But this backfires on them also because the passage actually condones proper judging. The point is not to be hypocritical about it.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?…You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3, 5

Hypocritical judging abounds in this incredibly divisive climate we’re in right now. Here’s one way it manifests.

R: I think X is morally wrong.

L: I think calling X morally wrong is morally wrong. And R is a bigot for calling out what she thinks is morally wrong. She should be shunned, cancelled, and/or silenced.

It is hypocritical for L to condemn R because L is doing himself what he is condemning in R. He is judging R for opposing a perceived immorality all the while he is opposing a perceived immorality in her. Pot, meet kettle. Speck, meet log.

The contrast between a speck and a log is apt because L’s condemnation goes far beyond what R thinks about X. He is condemning not just R’s view but R herself.

So for example, R’s view is that gender is biologically fixed and homosexual behavior is morally wrong. So she says men can’t be women and women can’t be men and objects to LGBTQ indoctrination in society and the schools.

L becomes aware of this and because his view is that R’s view is morally wrong he calls her names like bigot, hater, and homophobe. He goes beyond criticizing her view all the way to condemning her for holding it. He accuses her of hatred and bigotry simply for judging certain actions wrong. How then is he not a hater and bigot for judging her actions wrong?

I see the difference between R and L in this context as the difference between a judge and a jury. It is good and right for Christians and non-Christians alike to look at the evidence and reach a verdict on whether something is right or wrong. That’s acting as a jury. But it is not for us to condemn, label, and punish others from a presumed position of superiority. That’s acting as a judge.

Typically nowadays, folks completely bypass the jury and go directly to a conviction and sentence. This is an injustice, obviously. Alternatively, how good and right it would be to put particular views on trial and examine the evidence for their validity instead of judging the one who holds them.

Hypocrisy and injustice are rampant in our turbulent, schismatic society. Any call for unity must also call for humble self-examination if we have any hope to achieve it. Am I being hypocritical in saying such-and-such? Am I unfairly condemning someone merely for having an opinion I don’t like?

The wounds of our conflict are deep and will not be healed without some serious and possibly painful self-reflective surgery. Humbling precedes healing.