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.”

 

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

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