Rock Hudson was the quintessential matinée idol. If today’s parlance had been in vogue fifty years ago, he would have been called a “hunk.” Teenage girls and fifty year-old women sat before the silver screen and swooned when he took one of his leading ladies in his arms. And then, years later, those same adoring fans cringed when they found out he was gay.
Oddly enough, in a classic pot-calling-the-kettle-black moment, it was Rock Hudson himself who said, “I did a movie with John Wayne once and was surprised to find out he had small feet and wore lifts and a corset. Hollywood is seldom what it seems.”*
You ought to know, Rock.
Hollywood and the church might be polar opposites in some ways, but when it comes to hypocrisy, they probably have more in common than we’d like to admit. In the church, as in Hollywood, you’ll find people who are not at all what they seem. And I’m not just talking about preachers who sleep with their secretaries. Among the rank and file in any congregation, you’ll find plenty of people whose private lives and public personas bear no resemblance. I’ve often said that the door of the local church is the most magical thing in the world. Millions of people morph dramatically when they step through it.
Jesus knew this would be one of our biggest problems. Thirteen times in the book of Matthew alone he mentions hypocrisy, blasting those who practice it and warning those who don’t not to start. In fact, if Jesus had a list of pet peeves, hypocrisy seems to have been at the top of it. Judging from the language he used when he talked about it, nothing ticked him off more.
A big part of growing stronger every day is growing a little more real every day. Lee Ezell said, “Each of us is actually three people: the one we want people to think we are, the one we think we are, and the one we really are.”** You’ll know you’re making progress as a Christian when you can move from being three people, to two, and then, ultimately, to one.
For further reflection, read 1 Samuel 16:7, Matthew 6:5-6, 23:23-26, 1 Timothy 4:1-2
*Gene Shalit, Great Hollywood Wit (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002), 162
**Lee Ezell, Will the Real Me Please Stand Up? (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 56