The televangelist who preaches the loudest about the sin of adultery is discovered checking into a seedy hotel with a prostitute.
The preacher who decries most vehemently the homosexual ‘lifestyle’ is found to be having an affair with a young man in a nearby town.
The politician who campaigns on the ticket of ‘family values’ ends up having a fling with one of his staff, leaving his own family when it’s discovered she is pregnant with his child.
The youth pastor who is known for his long sermons to his youth group on the subject of purity winds up in prison convicted of sexually abusing a girl in the same youth group.
It appears that one very common tactic to distract folks from an unpopular action is to shout very loudly against whatever one actually practices.
And its not limited to sexual hypocrisy.
The alcoholic speaks the loudest about the evils of drink.
The obese woman preaches the message of healthy eating to her family.
The environmentalist makes regular use of toxic chemicals and pesticides in his garden.
Isn’t this a little like the Tupperware lady campaigning against the use of plastic? Or the oil company promoting electric cars?
There is a common misconception that being seen to loudly oppose something will make you more able to resist the temptation. It doesn’t.
But maybe it’s not about resisting per se, but being seen to be so much in opposition that people watching would dare not think you could actually do that.
If we have learned one thing from years of watching momentous ‘falls from grace’ unfold on The Evening News it is this: vehement opposition to a particular vice, addiction, or suspect behaviour often signals participation in the very thing being condemned.
We have learned well the lesson: Beware of those who shout the loudest. It’s they who (usually) have something to hide.
Perhaps this is what St Paul meant when he wrote: “Let your moderation be known to all.” In other words, don’t go overboard. Maybe he took his cue from the teachings of his Master, who instructed his disciples not to blow a trumpet when they gave alms and not to stand on street corners praying loudly. Instead, live a humble life before God and before others. Let your actions speak louder than your words (or trumpet).
In a world of biggest, greatest, loudest, richest and most bedazzling, may we have the grace to live quietly and let our deeds speak for themselves.