The Danger of Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy. It’s when hands lifted in praise have been earlier used for sin. It’s when lips proclaiming praise had hours earlier been used for insults. It’s when one’s reputation and one’s character are vastly different. The Pharisees were condemned for their hypocrisy. We read the stories of their encounters with Jesus and shake our heads at how far off they were from the truth without realizing that that is why they were condemned in the first place.

Today, we need to evaluate and see if our lifestyle is different than that of the hypocritical Pharisees. Are we living lives of integrity? Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 15:1-9.

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”3 He answered them,”And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”t 6 he need not honor his father.’So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the wordt of God.7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

8 “‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
9 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”

Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they were more focused on people breaking their traditions than God’s commandments. It infuriated them that Jesus’ disciples did not follow protocol when it came to washing of hands and the manner in which they ate. Jesus was exhausted from their unwillingness to see the big picture. The Pharisees had made a rule encouraging people to take their money and “give it to God” rather than care for their aging parents (v. 3-5).

Jesus then sharply rebukes: “These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8). That was the major problem with the Pharisees. Their mouths and their activity seemed to show extreme devotion to God, but their hearts were far from Him. That’s hypocrisy. We need to walk with integrity. We need to do what we say. We need our hearts to be focused upon God and faithful to Him.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), how would others perceive your commitment to God?

One a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), how would God rate your commitment to Him?

Today, commit to walk with integrity and make your heart and your mouth match up.