Monday, March 02, 2009

Hypocrisy

You've heard the research, maybe even heard the direct accusations. Christians are hypocrites. I am not a fan of casting any large group into one particular category with one foul swoop, and so my instant reaction is to say, "wait a minute." I want to do a good PR job on us and manage our images a little, justifying behaviors or explaining away actions. I so badly don't want to be "one of them" that my indignation and holier than thou attitude, lands me right in the middle of "them" more than I would like.

Like it or not, this is a worthy topic to think about. Servers in restaurants complain about the Sunday lunch crowd, unbelievers feel judged by Christians, many who have held themselves up as people of God have been exposed to the general public as cheats, liars, adulterers and manipulators. At some level it is not too much to say, some have earned the reputation of Hypocrite and all of us have to now bear it. But the court of public opinion is not really the greatest concern for me, albeit important. What about God...what does He think?

I have spent time in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira lately. What a sobering read that can be. And after much reflection I believe we are being taught something so powerful in this account that it can not be ignored. God acted harshly, swiftly, decisively with these two. Why? Others have lied, others have cheated, many still do. I firmly believe the issue at stake was hypocrisy. God is ever patient with us as we attempt to live in kingdom ways - often messing up and allowing temptations to overcome us. Yet, if our hearts are turned to Him and we are desirous of a surrendered life and are making attempts to that end, He continues to grace us with gifts of growth and change. However with A & S He sees right through to the heart. They had predetermined to appear religious, pious, holy, sacrificial, surrendered- but it was all a show. God will not have that. If our aim is to receive the admiration, praise and respect of our spiritual family by our acts of faith that are borne out of ill-motive and deception we can expect the wrath of God. They were claiming to be something they were not. God did not require their land or the proceeds from it. And yet they chose to try to deceive the Lord, the Apostles, the community of faith in order to appear more righteous than they were.

For many of us, we will not face such a drastic situation. But on a daily basis as we live for God I have been challenged to review my motives, my heart, my intent and to ask God to cleanse any ugliness from my heart. How thankful I am for mercy!

3 comments:

jeleasure said...

Hi Arlene,
I've been down the road of being a hypocrite as well as having been falsly accused of such. To that I say, I am capable of being in error.

However, by definition, to be a hypocrite is to be someone who is insincere.

The issue of hypocrisy can be delt with if the church would get back to teaching what is tantamount to having a relationship with Christ. That is, to have quality relationships with one another. The church has lost its' grip on what that really boils down to. It is in Matthew 25. I continue to preach it, but, people continue to side-step it or flat out deny it.
We who are saved from being judged according to the law will stand as sheep (community) and goats (individuals) on the day of judgement. Then, all of those who call Jesus Lord, who thought they were going to reside with God for eternity will be surprised to find out, they should not have moved my belongings to another table in Sunday School class, or they should not have found ways to deduct from my paycheck in order to increase their profit. Because, Jesus tells us that what we did or did not do for the least of the brethren we did or did not do to him, and by that we will be judged.

So, what is the answer if we have been guilty of hypocrisy? Repent. Pay it back. Go to the offended and sincerely apologize in the company of those who may know of your hypocrisy.

"Make every effort to live peacfully. Without holiness, no one will see the Kingdom of Heaven". Heb. 12:14.

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. -2 Corinthians 5:10 (New International Version)

thekingpin68 said...

'For many of us, we will not face such a drastic situation. But on a daily basis as we live for God I have been challenged to review my motives, my heart, my intent and to ask God to cleanse any ugliness from my heart. How thankful I am for mercy!'

Yes, and I pray I will not be hypocritical and that I will admit that I too struggle with sin and wrong doing.

Russ:)

Frank Bellizzi said...

I've wondered if the Acts 5 story is there to say: "Yes, God has begun the new age through Christ. But that doesn't mean the character of God has changed."

Either way, I've acted like a hypocrite. (Last sentence is sort of redundant. I just noticed). But I hope I never get good at it.