A Short Biblical Look at Hypocrisy
One reason why non-Christians do not attend church is hypocrisy. There is a phrase often spoken of the people of God, by those who are at odds with God’s truth, “Hypocrites!” Hypocrisy has been addresses by Jesus, always in negative terms. Considering, hypocrisy is noticed by people who live in this world, a lifestyle which breaks God’s heart, offends Jesus and causes God’s enemies to find contempt in His work, it is a necessity we understand what the Bible says is hypocrisy.
In judging others, Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
A hypocrite (GREEK, ?p????t??, hypokrites) meaning a counterfeit, pretender, one who professes to be what he is not. (Easton, M.G. In Easton’s Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers; Zodhiates, S. (2000). The Complete Word Study Dictionary; New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; Strong, J. (1995); Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship; Swanson, J. (1997); Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) Miriam Webster Dictionary gives us this definition, “a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. A person who acts in contradiction to his or hers state of beliefs or feelings. According to the New Bible Dictionary, Jesus, “the perfect reader of the human heart is the one who should make judgement of someone being a hypocrite.”
The child of God who is surrendered to the leading, enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit of Christ dread’s the words Jesus spoke to the teachers of the law and Pharisees, “…you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteousness but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
There are Christians, who slip into a sin or they have not been Holy Spirit enlightened, remaining blinded to their speech or conduct, still growing and maturing in their relationship with Christ. However, there are people who claim to be Christians, yet their life character show there is no conformable heart to please the Lord. His righteousness is not their heart beat. They like to look righteous because it is good for appearances sake, landing clients, making sales, a trusted religious person in the community. There are people who like holding religious positions, yet their lives have been exposed to a life of worldly influence, sexual miss-conduct and financial mistrust. There is a desire to be seen as godly, yet there is no hunger for God’s Holiness. There is an unwillingness to examine themselves to the whole counsel of God’s Word and they touch the holy things of God with unholy hands.
The human soul’s protection from the deceit of blinding hypocrisy is found in the truths of Psalm 26:1-3, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes and I walk in your faithfulness.”
We live in days were people in the world are looking for reasons to call the people of God hypocrites. It is our privilege to teach with great patience the difference from hypocrisy and Christians who are still allowing the Lord to complete His work in their lives. Christianity is a growth process, striving to please the Lord, learning His ways, longing not to be found as the teachers of the law and the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
Are you looking to the Lord, seeking and trusting Him for protection from a life which could bring accusations against God’s people? Are you able to teach those without Christ to understand there is a difference from a Biblical hypocrite and Christians who are growing in their walk with the Lord? Are you willing to seek and learn Biblical truths so you are better equipped to serve the Lord? The reverent fear of the Lord opens Christians up to the steadfast love of Jesus Christ.