Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Sin Beneath the Sin of Hypocrisy

This month the hunt for the Air France jet that disappeared in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean last year will resume.  However, it's not going to be all that easy to find, considering that the area where the plane went down is up to 13,000 feet deep.  That's why an armada of the world's most advanced underwater robots are being used in the search, leading some involved in the project to say, "If it's in there, they'll find it."

Wouldn't it be great if hypocrisy was that hard to find?  But it's not – is it?  It's not that difficult to detect when one is pretending one thing while in fact practicing something contradictory.  The question is, however, why does one behave hypocritically?  What is the sin beneath the sin of hypocrisy?  Why is driving hypocritical behavior?

The New Testament, in particular the words of Jesus, are very helpful in answering our question.  For example, he warned his disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees:

"…he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Luke 12:1)

The Pharisees were among the religious leaders of Jesus' day, and he warned his disciples to beware of the leaven (the corruptive influence) of the Pharisees – which was hypocrisy.  There it is for all too see, Pharisees pretending one thing while in fact practicing something contradictory.  But what's driving such sinful behavior?  Let's make it more personal – what drives our hypocritical behavior?  Jesus tells us:

"They do all their deeds to be seen by others." (Matt 23:5)

There it is!  Send all the robots home, we don't need them, Jesus has discovered and revealed for us the sin beneath the sin of hypocrisy – it is valuing the praise of man over the praise of God.  We enjoy the honor and praise of men so much that we will work overtime to keep up an outward show, all the while concealing the inner disposition of our heart.

For many who hear the gospel message and begin to take a closer look at Christianity, they are put off by the hypocrisy of some who profess the faith.  If you're one of those people, what is the remedy?  How can we keep from getting caught in the vicious circle described by Kenneth Bailey? :  "Law-keepers often condemn lawbreakers as 'sinners'.  Lawbreakers generally look at law-keepers and shout 'hypocrites.'"  So what must we do?

We must be like the woman who came to the house of Simon the Pharisee, to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears (Luke 7:36-50).  Her total focus was upon Jesus.  May that be our focus as well.

Pastor Van Morris

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