Oxymoron certainly is a strange sounding word. It identifies a contradiction in terms, an expression using contradictory terms to get across a point, something akin to sarcasm. A dictionary definition is: "a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect." Some examples would be: He is a wise fool. She is a woman of beautiful ugliness. He is an example of intellectual stupidity. Used correctly an oxymoron can be a powerful literary tool demonstrating contradiction and absurdity. Let's note some oxymorons that are common in the spiritual reality of many people.
Violent peace! Many people, claiming to speak from a spiritual perspective, call for peace. Yet they continually resort to violence, terror and intimidation to supposedly promote the peace they claim to seek and cherish. Jesus said, "...all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matt. 26:52).
Immoral morality! There are those who act immorally supposedly to take a stand for morality. They claim the high ground of morality, all the while taking the low ground of immorality. Some people have decried the immorality of abortion, only to fight against it by blowing up abortion clinics and actually murdering doctors who perform abortions. Immoral acts do not become moral simply because they're supposedly used to strike out against immorality. Jesus stated, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
Unrighteous righteousness! This one is related to the first two in this list, but its scope is broader. There are people who act unrighteously to supposedly promote righteousness. History speaks of people being beaten, even tortured, who were deemed to be sinners. Some have threatened murder for anyone who would not convert to their particular spiritual belief system. From a broader perspective, a great many people claim to be righteous while living unrighteous lifestyles. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;" (Isa. 5:20).
Ungodly godliness! Many people profess godliness but live ungodly lives. How can parents discipline their child for lying when they tell their child to lie about his age in order to get a discount at a movie theater or in a restaurant? How can a parent teach his child to be chaste when the parent is living with someone out of wedlock? The apostle Paul wrote, "teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age," (Tit. 2:12).
Unfaithful faithfulness! It is rather incredible how many people solemnly claim to have faith in God, even to be faithful to Him, all the while living a life of obvious, open unfaithfulness. They seldom, if ever, attend any church service. They do virtually nothing to bring honor to God. They commonly use profane language, including using God's very name in vain. They openly take part in all kinds of sinful practices. In reality, their professions of faith and faithfulness are mere lip service. Jesus spoke of such hypocrites: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Matt. 15:8).
Gary L. Hutchens