Archive for June 2015

The vileness of Hypocrisy [Part 3]   Leave a comment

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy

We have seen previously what hypocrisy is and how much God abhors it. How then to deal with it?

Jesus said:“So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.” Mat. 23:3

The tongue

First thing to deal with, is the tongue. Think whether you practice what you tell others to do. The heart also needs to be transformed for “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks“.

Your aspirations

Are you in the right place?

Jesus said:

And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. ” Mat 23:6

Be true to yourself. Stop doing things to please others or to receive compliments. If you acknowledge that you’re in the wrong position, resign. The Pharisees wanted to be at the head table and seats of honor. Not so with a servant of Christ.

Paul said:But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead” Gal 1:1

Your zeal

Redirect your zeal and objectives.

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!” Mat. 23:15

If the fruits of your ministry bring no glory to God but to self, reconsider your ways. Make sure that those you have influenced or who follow you are no longer “children of hell” but built up in Christ.

Your external appearance

“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.” Mat. 23:5

The way you dress, speak or behave to impress others have their roots in hypocrisy. Proving that you know the whole scripture and can recite long verses is for your own good. There’s no need to prove it to others. It will be an act of super spirituality. Many dress up in white, fast to be seen or make long prayers to appear religious. It could also be the impulse to buy things you cannot afford to level up yourself with others. Whatever is done to impress others is hypocrisy.

The advantages

Get rid of the advantages which make you live in hypocrisy.

They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.” Mat 23:7

We saw that the Pharisees liked to have privileged seats and receive honors. Abandon all advantages usurped through hypocrisy. Do not receive compliments or gifts that will make you puff up with pride.

Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters... And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Mat. 27:8-10

The subtle desire to control

As mentioned above, hypocrite people seek their own advantages. They seek their own interest and fear that someone else gets above them. They are selfish and don’t really care for others. What then is the remedy?

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Phil. 2:3

This is what the Pharisees did:

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either” Mat. 23:13

What sort of vileness can there be in someone’s heart that leads him/her to make it difficult for people to know more about God? This is a crime that God will personally deal with. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were those who had access to knowledge and should have been shepherds to feed God’s flock. They were rather ravenous and pitiless wolves who destroyed the flock. They acted as barriers to those who wanted to know the truth about God. The Pharisees made simple truths about God become complex and thus making God someone difficult to come close to. Through long and many prayers, alms giving, scripture recitation, fasting, different kind of abstinence and self-denial, the Pharisees made it a burden for people to draw near to God. Many such ordinances appeared to be glorifying God but were in themselves man-made laws.

They don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden” Mat. 23:3

With much indignation our good Lord called them brood of vipers.

Yes to law but no to love

For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” Mat. 23:23

When the Pharisee saw Jesus disciples eating crops(Mat 12) on the Sabbath day or whenever Jesus healed on the Sabbath, they considered Jesus a law breaker. Hypocrites have no sense of justice, mercy, love and faith in them. Give them a stone and they will kill the first adulterer they see. They will mercilessly judge others because they have a high opinion of themselves. Since they think they are saints they will pass on judgement to remove the speck from people’s eyes (Mat.  7:5).

Let us first judge if our heart is right (1 Cor 11:31) before pin-pointing the flaws of others. Basically, humility is the cure to hypocrisy.

 

 

Posted June 13, 2015 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The vileness of Hypocrisy [Part 2]   Leave a comment

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Tim. 3:1-5

People will appear to have a form of godliness in the last days. Through their habits, deeds and behavior we would be influenced to believe that such people are saints. It has been the case in Jesus time and it’s even worst today. Jesus said of the Pharisees:

Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;  they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” Mat. 23:5

Religious hypocrisy is a sin our Lord abhors. Only God knows how many such ‘Christians’ are present in our churches. They want to be called ‘Teacher’, ‘Pastor’ or ‘Elder’ and act unnaturally to usurp this place.

Adam Clarke said on Mat. 7:5:

A hypocrite, who professes to be what he is not, (viz. a true Christian), is obliged, for the support of the character he has assumed, to imitate all the dispositions and actions of a Christian; consequently he must reprove sin, and endeavor to show an uncommon affection for the glory of God. Our Lord unmasks this vile pretender to saintship, and shows him that his hidden hypocrisy, covered with the garb of external sanctity, is more abominable in the sight of God than the openly professed and practised iniquity of the profligate.”

As Jesus said, we’ll know them by their fruits.

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” Titus 1:6

I’m myself subject to be a hypocrite by saying these words since it is very easy to preach something to others and not practice it oneself.

James said:

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” James 3:1-3

Are there more pastors than sheep following the Shepherd ? More teachers than students at the feet of the Master? More elders than children at the Father’s bosom? We must first be disciples in order make disciples. Many aspire to preach and few who preach because they have been inspired to do so.

Hypocrisy proliferates more when someone wants to elevate self. He requires yeast to puff up. Such a minister has to pretend to be what he is not and is like chameleon which changes with its environment.

 

Posted June 11, 2015 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The vileness of hypocrisy [Part 1]   Leave a comment

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is pretending to hold some standards, beliefs, convictions or feelings. Basically, it is the dissimulation of one’s true feelings, thoughts and personality. It is a lie that people are made to believe about self. They are flatterers and back stabbers. Many reasons can lead someone to harbor hypocrisy. Some advantages can be lost if one unveils his/her true thoughts. Masking one’s true identity requires ruse and divert skills to deceive.

Jesus was damning severely this kind of attitude. It was the one thing our Lord zealously unmasked. Two whole chapters (Mat. 15 and Mat. 23) are dedicated to portray the hypocrisy in the Pharisees. It is a sin our Lord hates. He associated hypocrisy with yeast. Yeast (a fungus) makes a bread larger by filling it with air (through fermentation). While it’s true that the volume increased, the weight remained almost the same.

Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees…Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” Mat. 16:6-12

On the outside a hypocrite person appears to be worthy of trust and good but inside there’s a fountain of wickedness.

Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside?…Yes, what sorrow awaits you! For you are like hidden graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the corruption they are stepping on” Luke 11:39-43

When we know that someone has an attitude of hypocrisy, his/her presence is not appreciated. We do not trust a person who has multiple facets. Jesus made absolutely no deal with the Pharisees. If He associated with them, He could probably have had more influence. He rather stood against them and this led to His death. Jesus is the absolute truth and the devil is the father of lies. Hypocrisy is the most malignant lie as it is often mixed up with half truths.

When Jesus’ disciples were hungry and plucked corns on the Sabbath day(Matthew 12), the Pharisees criticized that Jesus condoned instead of condemn this act. This is what they said:

At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them.  But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, “Look, your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.”

The legalists, the Pharisees, had a point. Their arguments were somehow ‘lawful’ and right. Through it, they could easily judge and condemn a law breaker without feeling guilty. The law is the law they will argue. Give them a stone and they will kill the adulterer. They were masters of applying the law but they themselves violated it in other ways.

Adam Clarke said of this verse:

The Jews were so superstitious, concerning the observance of the Sabbath, that in their wars with Antiochus Epiphanes, and the Romans, they thought it a crime even to attempt to defend themselves on the Sabbath: when their enemies observed this, they deterred their operations to that day. It was through this, that Pompey was enabled to take Jerusalem. Dion. Cass. lib. xxxvi.
Those who know not the spirit and design of the divine law are often superstitious to inhumanity, and indulgent to impiety. An intolerant and censorious spirit in religion is one of the greatest curses a man can well fall under.”

If you had to exceed the speed limit to save the life of a member of your family, what would you do? I will not deny that I violated the law if I exceeded the speed limit. However, I believe that the spirit behind each law is to protect humanity, instill love and peace.

In Mark 3:4, Jesus said:

Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him

Basically, what Jesus wanted to remind the Pharisees is that doing something good or love has preeminence over the law. Love is the spirit behind each law. Whenever there’s a conflict behind laws, think about the love way.

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13:9

If you love people, you will not steal them or hurt them. If you love your spouse you will not commit adultery. So yes, it is absolutely right to say that all commandments can be summed up in one – Love.

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!

Adam Clarke said on Matthew 12:7:
“There are four ways in which positive laws may cease to oblige.
First, by the natural law of necessity.
Secondly, by a particular law, which is superior.
Thirdly, by the law of charity and mercy.
Fourthly, by the dispensation and authority of the Lawgiver.”

 

Posted June 10, 2015 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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