The Hypocrisy of Judah (Genesis 38:24)

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One of the things I love about Scripture is that it takes great pains to acknowledge the sins of Its major characters.

Peter denied Jesus. David committed adultery. Noah got drunk. Thomas doubted.

These all give me great comfort when I think about my own lack of righteousness from time to time.

In some cases though, the sin is harder to spot.

Think of Genesis 38. The sins in play are obvious. Onan spilled his seed, his older brother Er was “greatly displeasing to God,” and Tamar played the harlot. Judah also was guilty of sexual immorality by sleeping with his daughter-in-law.

But did you notice the hypocrisy laden inside of Judah’s sin? 

In Genesis 38:24, he hears about Tamar’s prostitution and issues a sweeping condemnation: “Bring her out and have her burned!”

What’s the problem? The person that Tamar prostituted herself to was Judah, which makes him just as guilty of prostitution as Tamar. He may not have been the one standing on the proverbial street corner, but by soliciting her for those very services, he knit his own to her actions.

This is why it’s so important to check our own hypocrisy before we start labelling the sins of others. From his chair, Judah had no problem calling out Tamar’s sin, all the while forgetting that he was, at the very least, the enabler.

Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 7. Everyone knows (and abuses) Matthew 7:1 which says “Do not judge,” but they all conveniently forget the rest of the section, which talks about the beam and the speck. One of the reasons we can’t see to remove the speck from another’s eye is because the beam is blocking our way. Remove the sin in your own life, and you’ll be better equipped to help others remove theirs.

Judah forgot that, and honestly, so do I. We ignore our own sins and point out others’ in a bid to “stand up for Truth.” 

If we really want to stand up for Truth, though, it starts with me, not my neighbor.