Hypocrite – noun / hyp·o·crite / ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit /
1. a person who puts on a false appearance
2. a person who acts in contradiction to his/her stated beliefs or feelings
From the Greek word hypokrites, “actor”. Hypokrites is a compound word derived from two words meaning “an interpreter from underneath.” As ancient Greek actors wore masks.
Hypocrisy is part of the human condition and being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you won’t get caught up in it. Critics of Christianity like to point out the hypocrisy of many who call themselves Christians but they are less willing to admit their own.
There is an ABC television show called “The View”. The hosts on that show advocate for inclusion, tolerance and acceptance, yet last Tuesday, Joy Behar equated the faith of the Vice President of the United States to mental illness. Mike Pence is a Christian.
One the other hand, Behar said nothing about co-liberal Oprah Winfrey’s statement about running for president in 2020.
“If God actually wanted me to run, wouldn’t God kind of tell me? And I haven’t heard that,” [Washington Post]
OH, an then there is also this
It is obvious we all have issues with hypocrisy, not just Christians. What about me? am I a hypocrite too?
I am a Christian. I have to admit, I am guilty of hypocrisy. I have knowingly acted contrary to what I claim to believe. I am also deeply grieved over it and strive to live a more faithful and less selfish life.
Are all Christians hypocrites when they say they believe the bible but fail to practice what they preach?
Hypocrites In The Church
Mark 7:6-9; Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.”
Matthew 23:1-3, 5; Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach… Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues.
Not All Are Hypocrites
All humanity is flawed, but not everyone are hypocrites. Above Jesus is speaking of those who’s lives are defined by hypocrisy. Though many of us are guilty of being hypocritical at times, just as we are lying, or being selfish and proud. The people Jesus was speaking to were living in hypocrisy, their lives were defined by it. They know it and continued in it anyway for gain.
I am under considerable conviction as I write this post I must admit. In fact, this scripture is never to distant from my thoughts.
Romans 2:21-24; Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
I am sure that there are people who have been turned from God because of me. I thank God that he has also drawn others to himself despite me.
Have I been hypocritical? Yes, but am I a hypocrite? I don’t think so. I have come to realize that I am not fooling God, and I am not fooling those around me. I am a flawed individual who is learning to completely depend on God Almighty. Whenever I begin to rely on myself and allow distance between me and God, I inevitably begin to drift back to my default state of selfishness.
My days of justifying my wants and desires are gone. By the grace of Christ I have been forgiven, but if I take that for granted, then willingly continue to contravene God’s commands, I am in grave danger. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love, but we are still free to refuse it and walk away from him in our own pride.
There is a distinction between a proud hypocrite and a humble person who tries but fails at living God’s ideal. Being a Christian isn’t about being perfect, its knowing your not and never will be on this side of eternity. We are all in need of forgiveness, which should keep us all humble knowing we are no better than the next person.
Matthew 18:21:22; Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven”
Peter thought he was being pretty pious, then Jesus shows us that his forgiveness is endless for those who are sincere and repentant. The hypocrite is not concerned with forgiveness, but the one who has been hypocritical and sees his/her error, is repentant and seeks forgiveness. In doing so, that person is quicker to forgive another who may offend them.
Matthew 6:12, 14-15; … and forgive us our sins, AS we have forgiven those who sin against us…
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins – Jesus
Conviction / Condemnation
God brings a conviction when we do wrong that lifts once we confess it and repent. The devil heaps on condemnation that stays with us, constantly accusing and reminding us of our wrong doing.
There is nothing we can do about our past. Consequences are what they are and we may never be able to fix what we broke, but we can strive not to repeat our mistakes. By allowing God to change us, we may be able to show those who we have hurt in the past the power God has to change people. The only way to do that is by the way we chose to live.
God Has Given Us All We Need
God has given us the ability to live how he wants us to. He has given us his Holy Spirit so we have no excuse to continue living how we used to. If we blame our circumstances for our behaviors, we are fooling ourselves, or we are being deceived. In either case, more of God is the answer. We need more truth in us to combat the lies we are believing.
2 Peter 1:3; By his divine power [the Holy Spirit], God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
We each have as much of God as we want. If like me, you find God to be distant and you are not changing and growing, ask yourself, how much time is God getting in your life? Is God the center of your life or only an hour on most Sundays?
Matthew 22:37; Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment
How much time does God get compared to sports, work or recreation? Please don’t take this as condemnation. It isn’t about ticking boxes or fulfilling some duty. it is about your desperate need to spend time with your heavenly Father. In those times he strengthens us, gives us peace, understanding and courage. If what you have been doing isn’t working, the answer is spending more time with God. How?
The word of God is our spiritual food. Jesus himself who is the bread of life, and he is the Word that became flesh. Spending time in the word is spending time with Jesus himself. We learn about him and he teaches us about ourselves through the revelation of the Holy Spirit with in us.
John 6:27, 32-35; But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. – Jesus
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 1:1, 14; In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God… So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
The only way to get better at something is to spend time at it. Sports, work or relationships, what you put into them is what you will get out of them. Try putting God first and see if things don’t begin to change.
James 4:7-8; So humble yourselves before God… Come close to God, and God will come close to you.
When God becomes a means to our ends, we become proud and we become hypocrites. When we become God’s means to his ends, he keeps us humble and enables us to live more godly lives, free from hypocrisy.
Luke 18:9-14; Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”