It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

05 September 2010

Hypocrites

Since January, I’ve been spending time (slowly) reading through Matthew. It has been a life-altering process. There is one word that has stuck out to me in my reading and it is, “hypocrites”. Jesus has an indignant disdain for hypocrites. It’s mentioned 13 times and, in context, I don’t get the sense Jesus’ tone is pleasant.

When you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:2, ESV)


Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single [convert], and when he becomes a [convert], you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15, ESV)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27, ESV)

It’s important to remember who Jesus was talking to that way, religious people. They were so focused on the law and holding people captive by it, but He was trying to show those religious that they too were just as imperfect as the ones they persecute for unrighteous living.

I believe, as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be aware of how Pharisee-like we can become. I’m reminded of the story found in John 8:1-11. A woman is found caught in the act of adultery (embarrassing). The religious leaders interrupted a church service where Jesus was preaching and broadcast her sin to the entire crowd. They wanted her to receive punishment for her sin (stoning) and in the process degraded her, embarrassed her, ostracized her and left little opportunity for reconciliation. But, what was meant to be an embarrassing moment for her became the most embarrassing moment for the religious when Jesus opened his mouth – “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” Busted.

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5, ESV)

I’m not saying we can’t hold each other accountable or help correct wrong behavior, but our goal must be reconciliation and tenderness; not pious instruction with a total disregard for our own depravity. Follower, watch your words. We are no different.

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