Saturday, February 7, 2015

Confessions of a Hypocrite

My desire is to teach--to challenge and encourage and help the Messianic movement move forward. But, sometimes I fear I go about it in entirely the wrong fashion.

I am guilty of:
  • Making sweeping generalizations of the Messy movement
  • Making generalizing accusations against the Messianic movement for making sweeping generalizations
  • Putting myself up as a judge of the Messianic movement
  • Judging the Messianic movement for judging
  • Trying to control others--trying to make them fit my mold
  • Failing to change myself
  • Using my blog to make me feel better about myself by telling everyone else how they need to change, allowing me to go on in my stubborn ways without feeling guilty about it. I.e. scapegoating
  • Carrying bitterness toward my brothers and sisters in the Messy movement
  • Allowing that bitterness to get the better of me and cause me to say things I later regret
As a friend of mine said in her blog, "hurt people hurt people." And as much as I hate to admit it, I've been hurt in this movement, and I have refused to let it go. Instead I have set it up as a scapegoat on which to unleash my frustrations. I justify it as trying to make an impact in this movement. But, all too often it comes across more as me trying to control my brothers and sisters in the movement. All too often it carries the undertones of judgment and prejudice.

So, first of all I want to apologize. If you are someone I have hurt, I am sorry for not being careful with my words. And I am sorry for perpetuating a climate of prejudice and judgment. The truth is that our movement has grown a lot. We have matured a lot. And there is far too much diversity among us for me to make the sweeping generalizations that I do. I see only a small fraction of the Messianics--who am I to render judgment on that small fraction, much less the whole lot whom I have not seen?

We have a lot of room to grow yet, but that's simply part of being human. It's not a mark against us (though I have often made it seem that way); it's an opportunity for us. And, like all humans, we have our share of problems. But, we are not defined by our problems. Whatever indictment I may find to present against the Messies, it is not a pre-requisite for being Messianic. It is not who we are.

I want to help us to move forward. I want to help us to grow. But, sometimes I don't know how. How do you challenge someone without being judgmental? How do you push forward without becoming a hypocrite?

I am a recovering hypocrite. I am sure I have not made my last infraction. But, I want to do better. You have my full permission to send me a gentle rebuke when I fail. With God's help, maybe I can get past my bitterness. Maybe I can surrender my need for control. Maybe I can trust God to know what He is doing in the world--and realize He doesn't really need my help. Sometimes I just get in the way.


  1. Wow.

    Your honesty and transparency is refreshing, Matthew. Not many people would be brave enough to share these types of thoughts on their blog. I commend you for your courage and real-ness about your journey.

    If I could write anything that would encourage you, I would probably say something like this:

    It’s a journey. It’s not a destination. While reflection and a slight correction on the compass are needed, don’t spend too much time looking to the past and criticizing yourself for where you were. God gives us what we need for the moments we are in; we can’t berate ourselves for what we didn’t know. The journey is a climb up to the top of Mount Sinai; the fire burns bright and hot, scorching the layers of dross that need to be refined one at a time.

    Don’t stop writing; don’t stop challenging the movement. Don’t stop being a “hopeful heretic.” I love your blog name, but I love the hopeful part the best—there’s always hope. There’s hope for our movement. We’re young; we’re wild. But we’re not boring, and we’re definitely not stagnant. We are growing. And like a puppy with big paws and long legs, just as we start to get the hang of things, something else stretches out and throws us off balance.

    We need people who are willing to ask probing questions, who are willing to dig deep and pull out things we swept under the rug. Without it we can’t move forward.

    Thanks again for the post. It was refreshing, encouraging, and convicting.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the encouragement. Like you said, it's a journey, a day by day walk. I am so very thankful for God's abundant grace. And don't worry...I won't stop writing. Just continuing to learn how to write--how to encourage, challenge, and inspire.