Disappointed in hypocrisy

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
The story is told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper hired a man to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit.

He began to scream, convinced his life was over…until the lion spoke to him: “Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired.”

So, would you be terribly disappointed if you had planned for weeks, perhaps took time off from work, or needed chores, packed a picnic lunch, loaded up the car, and took your family to the zoo only to discover that you were seeing “pretend” animals? Surely, you would be. You and your family would be saddened and the trip to the zoo would not end in the fun you thought it might.

BCH-2017-1017The animals in costume might have gotten away with the charade for a while, but sooner or later, they would mess up and the truth would be known. The guests would feel cheated, used, lied to, and hurt. They would lose confidence in those that behaved in such a manner. No one likes to be taken advantage of by another human being and it hurts when we discover that someone has done so.

Hypocrisy is all around us and it seems at times that those we trust the most are the ones that hurt us in the deepest ways. I won’t go into hypocrisy in relationships, the family structure, employment situations, schools, political environments, and alas, even in the life of the church.

Matthew 23:27 and 28 warns us about the hypoctites we will meet. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You are like whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanliness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within, you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Not a very pretty pucture painted in Scripture, is it?

There are many good definitions of hypocrisy and I am certain that every adult reading these words can put a mental picture of a person that has disappointed them by proving to be a hypocrite. One such definition says “Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s behavior does not conform.”

Another says, “Contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness while concealing real character or inclinations with respect to religion and moral beliefs.”

Simple descriptions might include, pretender, stage actor, deceiver, liar, pietist, sanctimonious, plaster saint, phony, fraud, sham, and fake.

If we cannot be anything else, let’s be real with each other. None of us make believable gorillas or lions when God made us to be human beings.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or

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