“What right do I have to speak? I use to do that, or worse, when I was their age!”
I hear this phrase all to often from people of all ages. Whenever an elder person has an opportunity to personally invested into someone younger, it’s common to question the legitimacy of our wisdom. The fear is often that of being seen or counted as a hypocrite. I see this in grandparents, parents of all ages, college students, and even in high school students. I want to shed some light on the difference I see between propagating hypocrisy and correcting from the wisdom from lessons learned.
Hypocrisy is instructing or manipulating others to believe or act in ways that you fundamentally do not believe to be true for yourself. A parent condemning a teen for speeding on the freeway, while the parent fundamentally believes that speeding is a cultural and acceptable norm for drivers. A high school lacrosse captain yelling at underclassmen for not working hard for their team in practice while fundamentally believing that simply “showing up” to group project meetings is all she needs to do.
Wisdom is a father talking about pornography with his teenage son because the father understand the toll it’s taken on his marriage as he has gone through the hard work of recovering from years of porn addiction. When a senior tells underclassmen how different her life can be in Christ when she shares how Christ redeemed her dual life of “Keggers & Christianity”.
Hypocrisy is telling someone to do something that you yourself have not aligned yourself with. Wisdom is transparently sharing bringing to light lessons you’ve learned from your past mistakes and brokenness for the edification of another. A guy named Paul, who wrote the majority of the content in the New Testament, incessantly spoke his past failures and brokenness in order to help his churches not repeat the same mistakes. What if Paul thought, “What right do I have to tell them to stop hurting each other, when I had spent so many years doing that, and worse!” We would be missing some of the most significant platforms he uses to communicate God’s grace and redemption in his own life!
What is the biggest difference between hypocrisy and wisdom for the Christian? The difference between the broken places we’ve allowed Jesus to redeem, and those places we’ve kept for ourselves. The Bible says, “Fear of the Lord is where freedom begins.” It is a scary thing to allow Jesus into our brokenness but this is where we have to start to move from a people crippled by hypocrisy to a people full of wisdom.
My desire is that we understand the significance of the resurrection of Jesus. Everything changes because of the NEW LIFE in Christ! No longer do we judge worth and wisdom the way the world perceives it. We live as a masterpiece created anew, we are not disqualified from wisdom because of the mistakes of your past. In fact, it’s just the opposite. As a redeemed people, it is our joy and pleasure to humbly and authentically share your wisdom gain in our transformation!