James Hewett, in Illustrations Unlimited, tells the story of an Irish priest, who, newly arrived in New York City, decided to visit the Bowery—a haven of homeless alcoholics and other derelicts. While walking the streets he suddenly felt a gun against his ribs. Then he heard a raspy voice: “All right mister, gimme all your money!” As he quickly reached for his wallet the holdup man noticed his clerical garb. Overcome with shame the thief said, “Forgive me, Father. I didn’t know you were a priest.” The priest replied, “That’s all right, Son. Just repent of your sin. Here, have a cigar.” The robber replied, “Oh, no, thank you, Father, I don’t smoke during Lent.”
1 Peter 2:1--So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines hypocrisy as: “The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.” Karl Rahner, quoted in the Wittenburg Door, said, “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.” We all know hypocrites, and if we are honest we see our own shades of falseness.
What causes whim and will to cavort towards flesh at the expense of walking holy? Hypocrisy is rooted in three things: ego, insecurity and immaturity. The first two are calculated and layered upon perception. The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day were adept at looking good in the eyes of the people with their pious behavior and scholarly knowledge. But Jesus, looking into their hearts saw rotten, self-absorbed men as evidenced by their callous disregard for hurting people. How God must grieve today as he looks down and sees the same distorted pride flourish among many who call themselves His faithful followers.
Rhonda challenges her Tuesday class to love their neighbors. “This is a great way to reach them for the Lord,” she intones. But she avoids the Iranian family next door. She knows the prejudice on her block toward these foreigners. Rather than reach out to them she kowtows to the beat of the street. When our eyes are on the crowd and not focused on the master our lives will be a lie as we live behind the plaster.
When we dedicate ourselves to knowing God and following after His Son pretentious behavior becomes repugnant. We have no place for phoniness. A relationship riveted in truth, characterized by selflessness and frequently washed by Living Water shines and fills the air with the fresh unmistakable fragrance of purity.
One foot cannot stand on two boats.—Chinese Proverb
Hypocrite: Someone who complains there is too much sex and violence on his VCR.--Marriage Partnership
A hypocrite is one who plays two parts consciously for his own ends. When we find fault with other people we may be quite sincere, and yet Jesus says in reality we are frauds.—Oswald Chambers in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.—Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
A Pharisee is a man who prays publicly and preys privately.—Don Marquis (1878-1937)
I will have nought to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.—Aesop (Fl. C. 550 B.C.)
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)