How many people have you watched walk up to a public building, and then race back to their vehicle to retrieve their mask? Although we are accustomed to wearing face coverings, sometimes in our busy-mindedness … we simply forget! Did you know the original Greek word for hypocrite means “He that wears the mask”? It was always used of actors in plays.
More than 30 years ago my mentor shared with me how often he found himself praying: “Lord, keep me from becoming so cynical in my old age.” As a seasoned man of the cloth (with 45+ years of ministry under his belt) he witnessed firsthand how the “golden years” can set people up – even good, godly people. As the years pile on, we are more prone to become judgmental and critical.
While the golden years are at least a decade away for me, I admit — I’ve been too quick to accuse and judge others. I’ve criticized people walking into the street while staring at their cell phone … driving recklessly on the berm or middle of the road while texting. Too many times I’ve shouted at my windshield, “How could anyone be so oblivious to other vehicles about to hit them? Don’t they care about their anyone’s safety? Why would they put other motorists in danger by swerving to miss them?”
The other day, while entering the store to find my queen, I was so engrossed by her text message what aisle to find her — I stepped out into the Walmart racetrack. Thankfully, the driver on my left saw my carelessness. Without blowing the horn, he came to an abrupt stop. I felt ashamed, and then waved an apologetic hand.
Like a thunderclap, my self-righteous finger pointed back at me. I had critically judged others for the same unsafe actions. My hypocrisy was the same mindset and attitude that Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus not only corrected judgmental attitudes, He actually condemned them. Jesus understood his contemporary language. Jesus knew the private lives of hypocrites. His words were not misused, but their private and public lives were certainly mismatched. What was projected to others in public was NOT practiced in private.
Matthew 7:1-2, 5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged …. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged … First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
So, how can we have such a perfectionistic attitude toward others, yet ignore the glaring faults we possess? How can we offer HOPE to people who suffer from wearing masks? Jesus answers with a doable remedy. The huge “plank” — the blind spot through which I criticize others will always impair my judgment — until it’s removed. Re-check your mask.