What is a hypocrite? According to Webster, a hypocrite is a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion, a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. In other words, hypocrites pretend to be someone or something that they aren’t. The definition doesn’t distinguish between an intentional or a subconscious (unintentional) deception.
The Bible teaches that a hypocrite is one who pretends to put God first in all things without really being pious … one who talks the talk without walking the walk. Jesus confronted hypocrites vigorously in His earthly ministry. These confrontations of truth against their self-deception fueled the Pharisee’s desire to kill Jesus.
A hypocrite knows what is right but makes elaborate excuses for doing wrong, and rationalizes why his behavior is allowable. He weaves a web of self-deception that eventually traps his thinking and keeps him from seeing the truth. He makes himself king and writes his own rules to declare and stamp his conduct as permissible. My kingdom come, my will be done mentality, all the while proclaiming that Jesus is the Lord of his life.
We all tend to condemn other people’s wrong actions and attitudes. At the same time, we are prone to excuse the same or worse behaviors in ourselves. We put on a good front and try to hide our real attitudes and feelings. We try to convince others … and even ourselves … that we are OK. We might be able to fool others. We might even delude ourselves for a while. But God knows our hearts. He is not impressed by our outward displays of “being religious” or following the rules. He considers what we are inside … our motivations, desires, and fears.
Today, objectively examine whether you are putting up a good front while harboring sin in your life. Maybe the sin is something you are doing … participating in pornography, an adulterous relationship, angry outbursts, sharp words, over-eating, or some other wrong behavior. Maybe it’s hidden inside … fear, anxiety, insecurity, bitterness, envy, lack of forgiveness. Remember that whatever it is … God already knows. He loves you and wants to help you overcome. You can start on the path to ending the sinful behavior by admitting your guilt to yourself … and to Him. WITHIN REACH can then help you take the next steps of applying the Bible and allowing God into those deep places in your heart and life and truly transform your heart.
Dear Father God, I know I’ve been living a lie. I also know that You see the real me–You see my heart. Please forgive my sin and give me the strength to overcome. Help me to be honest with You, with myself, and with others. Open my eyes to the truth, and give me the courage to take one stepping stone at a time to follow Your guidance. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.”
“You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy … full of greed and wickedness!”