“Do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.” —Matthew 23:3
Some opponents of Christianity may not be so much against Christ as they are against the hypocrisy of His followers. Ironically, it hasn’t occurred to them that no one was more opposed to hypocrisy than Jesus Himself.
We’ve all met scoffers who thoughtlessly parrot the phrase, “The church is full of hypocrites!” But let’s not be thoughtless in our response and dismiss such pronouncements without taking heed lest they be true.
We tend to think that it’s not true of us. But let’s think again. Have we ever been like the Christian who glanced through her window, only to see a nosy, noisy neighbor approaching her door? Her young, impressionable children heard her as she growled, “Oh, no—not her again!” Whereupon she opened the door and gushed insincerely, “How very nice to see you!”
Our lips and our lives often preach a mixed message. In Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus described the hypocritical teachers of the law and warned His disciples, “Do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (v.3).
God forbid that some opponent of Christ would be influenced by careless hypocrisy in our lives.
Lord, help us to be “careful preachers.” —Joanie Yoder
You can fool the hapless public,
You can be a subtle fraud,
You can hide your little meanness,
But you can’t fool God. —Kleiser
A hypocrite will often pray on his knees on Sunday and prey on his neighbors on Monday.
From “Our Daily Bread”, October 14, 2006
Suggested Reading: Matthew 23:1-12
Why did I include this preachy post today? Because hypocrites, ESPECIALLY in the church, make me crazy. This is not to say that I have not been guilty of the example given above: “Oh, how nice to see you,” when really, it was not at all nice to see my noisy, annoying neighbor (that’s a tough one) – but on a grander scale, what in the world are Christians thinking when they show up for church every Sunday and forget there are 6 other days in the week??
I’m no authority on the subject, my faith is a simple one. I consider Christianity to be a full-time endeavor. I don’t take a “holiday” when I see someone drop a $20.00 bill, for instance… :-/
Let me relate an interesting little story (which I hope to state briefly :-). I was recently hired to help a friend collect a [relatively] large outstanding debt owed to her business. She gave me some background on the gentleman I would be calling: “He is a nice family man, a Christian guy… he even has scripture verses on his business cards” (which is why she was especially surprised he “stiffed” her). After numerous ignored invoices, emails, and phonecalls that were not even answered, I called and spoke politely to the man, even commiserating with him and his predicament. Despite this, he was unbelievably rude and nasty to me, making a point of getting my name and other pertinent information, which he then used to send a cease and desist letter. (Cease and desist after one phonecall? He’s the one who won’t pay… :-/)
Anyway, the point of my story is this guy had no idea who I was or that I knew he was a Christian because he saw me only as a hired independent contractor, not also a friend of the business owner to whom he owes money. SHE knows his public persona, but he didn’t think that *I* did. So he decided to “take a holiday”. That bothered me more than his threatening tone.
I know Christians aren’t perfect and have even been told not to hold them (the ones that irritate me) to a higher standard, but why shouldn’t I? Aren’t we always expecting everyone else to raise their standards? It’s time for hypocrisy to take a holiday – if Christians want to be taken seriously.