Hypocritical Behavior - By: Lenny Chapman

Hypocrite: 1) a person who pretends to have virtues, morals, or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. 2) a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements, belie his or her public statements.

The big news of last week found yet another high profile politician involved in an illegal act. This time things were a bit different because this man made his reputation fighting justice while “bringing down” prostitution rings. His threats to anyone involved were enough to put fear into the minds of those thinking along these illegal lines because of the imminent consequences that would be doled out. So, what did he do? He was found to be involved with a “high-level” prostitution ring, spending approximately $80,000.00 illegally satisfying his “lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Yes, there is plenty more to the story, but I will leave that for the newspapers to report. What we can take away from this horrible experience are two things: First, the embarrassment brought on when this hypocritical act was exposed. Secondly, the social outcries because of this hypocritical behavior, which will in the end, add more burden and loss to the already embarrassed participant and his family. His reputation is forever tarnished and his judgment will be in question for a long time to come. This is the result of hypocritical behavior!

Jesus had much to say about hypocrisy. His teachings guide us to the understanding of how our work as a Christian can be hindered by our participation in hypocritical behaviors. Jesus was on earth during a time when the so called “religious leaders” were blatantly hypocritical. Jesus saw right through them and challenged their sinful behavior. Their response was not to change, but to rid themselves of this claim by putting our Lord to death! “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi…But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Mat. 23:1-15).

From this teaching one can see how crucial it is to avoid this type of behavior. It is not easy, but it must be curtailed if one desires a home in Heaven. It is obvious how displeased Jesus was by the actions of the scribes and the Pharisees. These men were placed in a position of leadership to help guide others to righteousness. They took advantage of their positions laying heavy burdens upon the people, much like an “initiation” to join a club. These traditions and burdens had been created over time, and were things that they themselves would not abide by because they were found doing the “glamour jobs”, things that would bring greater accolades. This type of behavior is so contrary to God’s Law that Jesus confronted the scribes and the Pharisees in the midst of a great multitude of people, uncovering their sinful hypocritical behavior!

Remember always that hypocritical behavior will only lead to destruction of both physical and spiritual worth, while stymieing our effectiveness as Christians.