“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish,[a] and then the outside will become clean, too.” – Matthew 23:25-28
We have all had that moment when we want to be someone else, or trying to be different than we really are so people won’t see us as losers or irrelevant. In those times, hypocrisy seems to come easy to us even though we hate it. We hate it when we see it in other people. We hate it when we see it in the church. And we really hate it when it rears its ugly head in us. It would be nice if we could go to our doctor and say, “I’m having a bout with hypocrisy,” and the doctor writes a prescription that you get filled at the local pharmacy. Three days later all the symptoms of hypocrisy are gone and you go on with your life. Your general practitioner cannot solve that problem for you. Fortunately, God can.
Jesus has a prescription for dealing with hypocrisy in our life. The cure starts from within. Matthew 7:3 says, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” Verse 5 adds, “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” When dealing with hypocrisy we need to start with ourselves. Refuse to compare yourself with other people. Refuse to evaluate what’s wrong with other people. We tend to fall into the hypocrisy trap when we know that we have some things we need to deal with, but we know five or six other people that have bigger issues than we have and are more in need of change than we are. Love is the prescription we need because love changes everything.
Jesus was never called a hypocrite because Jesus loved people. He valued people. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for every one of them. We should not seek perfection, not should we seek to place ourselves on a pedestal over others. Being a Christian is all about having a life-altering relationship with Jesus. It means we spend time with Jesus. It means we seek to emulate Jesus. Being a Christian is not about outward persona or wrappings, it is about the inward reality. So part of the cure for hypocrisy is to stop trying so hard to be better than others. Instead, develop a real relationship with Jesus. The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we are molded into His image, filled with His love for others and covered by His grace. The more we love others the less we will have hypocritical moments.
Remember, that it all starts within.
- How does hypocrisy start within?
- What can we do to love people more this week?