Today, let’s take a look at a heated topic: that of headcovering and hypocrisy. How are these concepts related? ARE they related? First, here are the definitions of the words “hypocrisy” and “hypocrite” from the American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828:
1. Simulation; a feigning to be what one is not; or dissimulation, a concealment of one’s real character or motives. More generally, hypocrisy is simulation, or the assuming of a false appearance of virtue or religion; a deceitful show of a good character, in morals or religion; a counterfeiting of religion.
Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. -Luke xii
2. Simulation; deceitful appearance; false pretence.
Hyposcrisy is the necessary burden of villainy. -Rambler
1. One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.
And the hypocrite’s hope shall perish. -Job viii
2. A dissembler; one who assumes a false appearance.
Fair hypocrite, you seek to cheat in vain. -Dryden
Some words which stand out to me are: “simulation,” “feigning,” “false appearance,” “deceitful show,” and “counterfeiting.” Is it possible for someone to present an appearance of being good, without actually supporting that appearance with the substance of good character? Is it possible for someone to be a religious fake? Yes, it is.
We don’t want anyone to know our flaws. Or worse, sometimes we don’t think we have any! When it’s time to present ourselves to the public, we pull out our makeup bag of cosmetic tricks, and cover up the defects with a smooth layer of superficiality. Some folks are especially good at this art. They are good at deceiving others, and they are good at deceiving themselves. (By the way, I’m speaking figuratively here. Is makeup okay for the Christian to use? That’s not a question we will be addressing in this post. Maybe later…)
Is it possible for a headcovering woman to be a hypocrite? Yes, it is. She might have the appearance of being a godly woman who respects her husband, but as soon as she gets home, off comes the covering, and there she is, bossing him around again.
Or, she might be the kind of person who enjoys a tender morsel of gossip. Perhaps, she indulges in tasty bits of criticism against her sisters in Christ. Is this right? NO.
So, then: If SOME people might engage in religious hypocrisy related to the headcovering, does that mean we should just throw the whole thing out? Let me answer that question with another query: If SOME people don’t have perfect lives and struggle with weaknesses, does that mean that they should just throw church out the window? “Only perfect people allowed here. No one who is struggling. No one with problems. Otherwise, they might actually find a solution to their conflicts.” The people who need church the most, are those who are dealing with the hardest battles! If we bar their access to church activities because we’re afraid of hypocrisy, we are restricting them from access to the solutions that will help them the most! (*Though I do recognize there is a place for church discipline when there is unrepented-of sin present, after the individual has been given ample opportunity to repent, and has not chosen to do so.)
One way of looking at the headcovering is by viewing it as an educational TOOL. It is a hands-on manipulative to help people grasp the meaning of God’s creation of gender roles, and His intended order for the church. As we try to implement the use of the headcovering in our lives, are we going to do it perfectly? Are we never going to face hurdles and obstructions? Of course not! We WILL experience these things, most of all from WITHIN ourselves, as we attempt to free ourselves from the layers of misconceptions piled on top us from our current culture of gender confusion and feminism.
Our mothers may have modeled to us since we were babes in diapers how to be disrespectful to one’s husband, how to argue and fight our way to the top, how to never take “no” for an answer (though not everyone’s mother was like this, I’m sure). They may not have taught us these things directly, with their words, but rather indirectly, with their actions. After 18 or so years of absorbing this kind of philosophy, and seeing it lived out in the lives of our parents, is it any wonder that we have such a hard time changing our attitudes in our own marriages? These patterns and attitudes we have learned over the course of a lifetime don’t dissolve over night. Changing our approach to life takes time and effort. And if we throw out the headcovering, we are actually ditching one of the tools that will be most useful to us in our transformation!
So what do you do when, as a headcovering woman, you just talked to your husband in a condescending, disrespectful way? Should you trash your headcovering because you’re afraid of becoming a hypocrite? NO! You should closely examine your heart, and resolve to persevere in letting God continue to change you. Put your covering back on, and once again, commit to live up to the standard and expectation that it raises high before us! And don’t neglect to apologize to your husband, and make amends with him for your behavior.
Headcovering and hypocrisy are not synonymous terms.
We, as frail human beings have a tendency to become hypocritical in many ways, but headcovering doesn’t have to be one of them, if we are willing to work on our attitudes. Please, don’t give up on headcovering when it gets hard. Don’t give up on headcovering because your friends might think you are a hypocrite. Don’t give up on headcovering even if you make the mistake of acting hypocritical yourself. Simply, do what needs to be done to change your attitude, but continue to obey God by living out His command regarding headcovering.
” Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”