136M - Hypocrites

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There are those who have created an image of a Savior who is so gentle that He’s never angry; so kind that He’s never harsh; so forgiving that He winks at sin. Now, such an image is wrong, and problem is it can foster a casual attitude toward the Lord’s commandments.

The reality is that Jesus cleared the Temple with a whip, rebuked Peter and turned His back on Him, and renounced and insulted the Pharisees publicly. Matthew 25 always seemed so out of character to me—until I paid more attention. You’ll remember that the Master’s foremost accusation against the Pharisees was hypocrisy. Now, why was He so scathing on that subject?

Well, as this is a sin that worries many who are trying to be good, perhaps it’s needful to understand what it is, and why the Savior felt so strongly about it. Hypocrites – all the world hates a hypocrite. A hypocrite is a pretender, a deceiver. The word itself is Greek in origin and means ‘actor.’ And generally, it is someone who espouses a cause, publicly professes allegiance to certain standards, but secretly lives a double standard. In short, they preach high standards and live low lives. That’s a bypocrite

The religious are frequent targets of this accusation, but though they are at high risk, not always is every religious soul guilty of being a hypcrite – because hypocrites are conniving deceivers. They know what they’re doing. They deliberately walk in two opposite worlds. This is different than those who are living to the best of their knowledge and ability, who are genuinely trying, but are still beset with weakness. A man cannot be a hypocrite when he continually acknowledges his weakness, and compels no man to live better than he does.

Now, hypocrisy piggybacks arrogance, since both are an outgrowth of pride run amok. Hypocrisy tends to be judgmental of others – harsh, exacting, and unjust. It may talk compassionately, but it does not act it out. Hypocrisy revels in glory and attention, and devours praise and flattery as greedily as fine food. Hypocrisy is obsessed with its public appearance. It will go to extreme lengths to create an image of virtue, but close proximity always finds the filth within. Hypocrisy tends to be vicious in it efforts to maintain its ill-gotten place. Those who attempt to expose it will be publicly vilified.

Hypocrites are especially dangerous and destructive to the Savior’s cause. Why? – Because they slither undetected like vipers among the Lord’s people. And when they’re finally found, they destroy not only the individuals they have deceived, but the entire group becomes characterized by the loathsome behavior of that one person. Hence, not only do hypocrites lead away their friends, but they bring the whole cause into public condemnation, principles and all. Perhaps it is for that reason that the only public vice more loathsome than a hypocrite is a traitor. And traitors are usually quickly discovered and disposed of, while hypocrites can work undetected for years.

Now, hypocrisy always has its victims. Usually they are innocent people and pure principles. Both are ruthlessly sacrificed to feed a hypocrite’s ego. This is why the Savior of the world so soundly and publicly renounced them, and will inevitably detect every vestige of hypocrisy in His people and expose it.

Hence, ny dear friends, trying to live your religion and teach it meekly to others – that’s exactly what you do. Judge not the sins of others lest you are found and judged in your own. Just do the best you can, and let others do the same.

Now, I know of what I speak – about hypocrisy. I’ve been with you here every Sunday for many years, and by virtue of what I have said, I have been made foremost among hypocrites.

Have a good day.

Glenn Rawson – May 24, 2011
Music: (edited) – Jennie Bangerter Larson
Song: Live Like You Believe – Jenny Phillips
www.soundsofsunday.com