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In a discussion of Christianity, it doesn’t take long for the subject of “hypocrisy” to come up. One skeptic wrote: “A Christian is a man who feels repentance on a Sunday for what he did on a Saturday and is going to do on Monday.” That is a sad description, but all too often true, I fear.

Sadly, there is a disparaging connection between the “clergy” and hypocrisy today. There is no shortage of abusive priests, and swindling ministers, that has consequently all but obliterated what little trust people have left in church leaders. It is a pitiful spectacle! But such “phoniness” among some religious leaders should not surprise us, since it is not a new phenomenon. Such conduct was rampant in Jesus’ day. He constantly confronted hypocrisy among the Jewish religious leaders. Seven times in one message He denounced those leaders with the strong rebuke: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” (Matt. 23: 13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29). In verses 16-17 He said: “Woe to you, blind guides…You fools and blind men! That doesn’t sound like the “meek and mild Jesus,” as He is so often described today, does it?

What was so upsetting to Jesus? He loathed their self-righteous piety because “they said things and did not do them.” (Matt. 23: 3), and when they did do something meaningful, they did “all their deeds to be noticed by men.” (v. 5). They publicly talked the talk, but didn’t privately walk the walk! They gave the appearance of being spiritually strong, but in reality, they were worldly and impotent! They sounded ever so righteous, but actually they were void of any spiritual substance! Yep! Hypocrites, the whole lot of them!

How careful we need to be, that we do not display varying degrees of hypocrisy in our lives with a “fake faith.” Remember, only Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life, full of integrity and free from any hypocrisy. That’s why He is our model. Think on these things.

Dennis Abernathy

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