“To dissimulate is to pretend not to have what one has. To simulate is to feign to have what one doesn’t have.”― Jean Baudrillard- French sociologist
I am from Philadelphia, PA, which has been dubbed, “The City of Brotherly Love.” In 2020, it was also the city with the 2nd highest murder rate. DISSIMULATION – doesn’t just happen with cities. It happens with people. It means to conceal or disguise one’s thoughts, feelings, or character. Dissimulation is pretense—an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true; a false display of feelings, attitudes, or intentions. Dissimulators invent imaginary situations or sometimes hold affected or ostentatious/showy speech or behavior—all for the purpose of cloaking or hiding what is truly going on. Dissimulation and love are incompatible. You pretend to have loved when you do not even possess it. Simulating love with a counterfeit substitute is not any better. Paul admonished the Church in Rome, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9) The NLT renders that, Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Other translations say, Love must be free of hypocrisy. (NASB), Love must be sincere. (NIV), Let love be genuine. (ESV) and, “Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. (TPT)
The world has many opinions on hypocrisy in the Church—especially in its leaders. Certainly, scandals happen…but I’m not sure folks ever consider the shedload of dissimulation and pretense, or the amount of academy award-winning acting that pastors and leaders see on a day-to-day basis. We hear and confront all kinds of tales. Sometimes we smile and nod when we know folks aren’t ready to reveal the truth. King Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. That’s why Paul taught the Church at Ephesus thousands of years ago that truth-telling is a key ingredient to establishing and maintaining a healthy Christ-following community. “Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ]. (Ephesians 4:25, AMP) The Church was designed by the LORD to be a place where hiding and concealing are replaced with confessing, speaking, and receiving the truth in love. It’s supposed to be a place where we can be honest, grow, and heal. Maybe for that to happen, it’s time for us to stop faking the funk.