Friday, April 26, 2013

The Markings of a Hypocrite by Martin Wiles

“There’s nothing but a bunch of hypocrites at that church.”

I’ve heard the statement frequently when inviting people back to a church they previously attended or when inviting someone who wasn’t attending anywhere. Usually details followed. _____________, who is a deacon (the normal prime target), drinks, smokes, curses, etc. Or, So and So did something that made them mad. And of course, the old standby: “The preacher…”

Hypocritical behavior can turn others off and away, but often those pointing the finger are guilty themselves. 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 (Mark 7: 6 NLT).’”

Focusing on my reputation at the expense of my character makes me a hypocrite. Reputation is what I’m known for; character is who I really am. They should match, but with a hypocrite they won’t. Like the Fonz on the series “Happy Days” who had a “rep” to protect, I can protect mine at the expense of molding my character instead of letting my character shape my rep.

Legalism can label me a hypocrite. I’m legalistic if I stress the letter of the law and miss the spirit. I can be known as a super spiritual saint but have a heart that’s rascally. Jesus compared the religious leaders to white-washed tombs…pretty on the outside, dead on the inside.

Being quick to point out the faults and sins of others while ignoring mine also tags me a hypocrite. Jesus warned against looking at the speck in someone else’s eye while ignoring my personal logs. We’re all mere sinners saved by grace.

If you’re guilty of pretending to be someone you’re not, God can fix the issues so the rep will match the real you.

Prayer: Remind us merciful Father that You see the inside as well as the outside. Strengthen our reserve and mold our character so others will see an accurate reflection of who we are and who You are in us.

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