A thorn in the flesh is a constant or persistent cause of annoyance, frustration, or trouble.
It is widely saying and fact, that a problem whose cause is identified is half solved. Hypocrisy a thorn in the flash.
This fact accounts for the joy and excitement that attend the faces and voices of doctors when they diagnose the exact cause of their
parent’s illness, or the assurance and hope in the report of medical researchers whenever they identify the cause of a terminal decease.
I believe that the fact of this sayings lies on the basis that once the cause of a problem is
identified, resources could be focused rightly on finding the solution, which is easier done with the cause identified.
The backdrop of the choice of this massage is to encourage Christians on the need to
contribute her quota towards the building of a godly, safer, prosperous society through the mission and life of the church. This quest has
opened our eyes to the fact that the efforts towards building the society of our dream are impeded by a great monster identified as hypocrisy.
Further inquiries have shown that monster has eaten deep into every facet of both our immediate and wider societies, with the church not left out.
Its pain and agony are deeply and clearly felt like that a THORN IN THE FLESH. Hence the massage: “Hypocrisy; A thorn on the
flesh.” It is our prayer and hope in this massage that, with the identification of this impediment to the building of the society of
our dream, we all may resolve to use our God-given potentials to show this monster the back door.
To help us achieve this important goal of this massage, let’s throw more light on the two segments of our theme- “HYPOCRISY” and “A
THORN IN THE FLESH”. We will begin with this segment because this phrase is exclusive to our theme.
I think the reason why this phrase may seem strange to some people is that a similar but popular phrase exists which is a thorn in the flesh.
Now to clear the air very well, let’s speak briefly on this popular version of the phrase- a thorn in the flesh.
This phrase has its origin from the Bible. St. Paul says “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the
revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 cor. 12: 7).
Many interpretations have been given to this statement made by St. Paul in his letter to the
Corinthian Church. Roman Catholics writers think that it denotes suggestions to impiety. Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers interpret
the expression as denoting temptation to unbelief. Others suppose the expression refers to “a pain in the ear or head,” epileptic
fits, or, in general, to some severe physical infirmity, which was a hindrance to the apostle in his work (1 cor. 2:3; 2cor. 10:10; 11:30; Gal.4:13, 14:6:17).
With a great amount of probability, it has been alleged that his malady was defect of sight, consequent on the dazzling light which
shone around him at his conversion. This would account for the statements in Gal. 4:14; 2cor. 10:10; also Acts 23:5, and for his
generally making use of the help of an amanuensis (Rom. 16: 22). Another view which has been maintained is that this
“THORN” consisted in an infirmity of temper, to which he occasionally gave, and which interfered with his success (Acts 15: 39; 23:2-5).
The point i want to make in citing this statement by St. Paul is that his thorn was not known because it was in the flesh, and so we are left with speculations as to what it
might be. And because the thorn was in the flesh, only Paul felt the pain. So while Paul’s thorn was not known, ours has been identified
and so is known because it is in the flesh where it could be seen. And while only Paul felt the pain of his thorn, the pain and agony
of our own thorn is dearly and deeply felt by every facet of our society, hence ‘a thorn in the flesh’.
Therefore the phrase as used in our theme refers to a persistent difficulty. Something or
someone that continually cause disorder and hinder progress. A chronic infirmity, a menace whose effect cannot be mistaken.
At this point, let’s take a look at the other segment of our theme –‘Hypocrisy’. This is the state of falsely claiming to posses
characteristics that one lacks. The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek (hypokrisis), which means “jealous”, “play-acting”, “acting out”, “coward” or “dissembling”. It is the
assuming of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, with dissimulation of real character or inclinations, hence in general sense, it is dissimulation, pretense, sham. The
word hypocrite originated when a Hebrew word with a general meaning of “godless” and a root meaning of “corrupt” or “defiled” was
translated into Greek with a word having the meaning “to play a part.” A hypocrite is one who falsely professes to be virtuously or
religiously inclined; one who pretends to have feelings or beliefs of a higher order than his real ones; hence generally a dissembler, pretender.
Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. Hypocrisy however is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches.
Thus, an alcoholic’s advocating temperament, for example would not be considered an act of hypocrisy as long as the alcoholic made no
pretense of sobriety. Someone may be suffering from cancer caused addiction to smoking.
Such a person may not be guilty of hypocrisy if he advices others not to smoke.In this case he may be advising people to avoid the
mistake his weakness led him into. He can only be guilty of hypocrisy if he advocates for non- smoking claiming that he does not
smoke or never did. Therefore hypocrisy is life or action based on deceit, falsehood, sycophancy, and pretense.
Therefore the hypothesis of our theme is that the life of deceit, pretense, falsehood, and sycophancy is the remote cause of the
disorder, mismanagement of resources, hatred, lack of truth, and distorted leadership and fellowship that have befallen our homes,
religious groups, and our civic society. We believe that hypocrisy is the major monster that holds individuals from reaching their
God-given potentials, that destroys home and sets family members against one another, that hinders the effective propagation of the
mission and ministry of the church infirmity that has impeded the progress of some nations blessed with unlimited human and material resources. Hypocrisy is a thorn in
the Flesh of every facet of human society. Hypocrites are the clog on the wheel of success of every society. Therefore for every
society to progress,i mean the church and the entire globe to make any head way towards
peace, unity, progress, and fulfillment, of our ministry, hypocrisy and hypocrites must be frustrated,dislodged and shown the way out.
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