FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT
by Rev. Janet Marston
SHAME ON YOU, HYPOCRITES!
from Webster's Dictionary - the definition of HYPOCRITE:
1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
My Gramma McGregor used to tell me not to let anything out of my mouth that I was not willing to eat! If dirt comes out of your mouth - then you will eat dirt. I never heard a bad word come out of my Gramma's mouth. She never said or did anything she did not stand up for.
Nothing irks me more than a hypocrite - someone who says one thing, but does the opposite (like most politicians) - or someone who pretends to be one way, but lives differently.
I will give you an example. I am not speaking about one person in particular - there are many people like this today - both male and female. But, lets say you go to a church where the pastor (or lay leader) prays with you and the congregation, acts like a good example for Christ - teaches bible studies, involved in charities, proclaims that they follow the 10 commandments - condemns others for smoking, drinking, and adultery. Everyone loves this person and believes this person is virtuous. BUT, this person, who is supposed to represent Christ and be an example and teach the sheep - this person does not act the same way at home. Let's say, this person refuses to pray with his own wife. He doesn't read God's word with her or his children, and indulges in profanities and promiscuous acts. Let's say, this person also gets drunk in secret and is abusive to his wife or children. And, let's say, this person may also be a drug addict.
Would you want this person to be a leader in your church? Would you want this person to be a representative of Christ? Of course not! It is one thing to have problems that you openly admit and are willing to get help for. We are to be helpful to our brothers and sisters in Christ who want and need help. But for someone to lie, or deny, that they are doing one thing, and pretending to be another, that is an abomination to God.
YOU are a representative of Christ, also - if you proclaim to be a Christian, then you must live up to what you SAY you are. Do you really think you can hide from God? Do you not know that God knows what you are doing? What makes you think you can get by with it? Do you not realize that you are turning people AWAY from Christ instead of TO him? We will all be accountable to God for our mistakes - I am not excluded in that either. But, to stand up in front of a congregation and act all high and almighty after indulging in 'secret sins' - is just plain wrong, folks. It's more than that - it's an abomination. The truth will come out and you will answer for it.
My point is this - yes, we are all sinners. I myself have made mistakes and hopefully learned from them. Life is a journey of learning from our mistakes, and growing closer to God in the process. Making mistakes is not hypocritical - it's a learning curve - and if you have learned and are willing to try harder and change - that is to be celebrated. But, if you are hiding and lying about who you really are - then you are a hypocrite and you need to get down on your knees and pray for God to forgive you, and you need to be willing to change - and you need to be willing to admit your faults. AND, if you are a pastor and you do not pray with your wife - SHAME on you - get on your knees and ask for forgiveness - do you think Jesus would refuse to pray with us? We are HIS bride - and you need to treat YOUR bride the same way Jesus would treat us.
OH, MY PRECIOUS LORD JESUS - YOU ARE SO WONDERFUL, LOVING AND FORGIVING - AND I AM SO MUCH A SINNER - I HAVE MY FAULTS AND I ADMIT THEM ALL TO YOU TODAY - I DO NOT ALWAYS ACT THE WAY I SHOULD, AND I AM TRULY SORRY - PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR MY SINS AND HELP ME TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IN PUBLIC AND AT HOME. HELP ME TO BE A BETTER PERSON - AN HONEST AND LOYAL PERSON - AND NEVER A HYPOCRITE. AMEN.
PSALM 26:3-5 (NIV)
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
4 I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites.
5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.
MATTHEW 6:1-6 (NIV)(Giving to the Needy)
1 "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
MATTHEW 23:22-25 (NIV)
22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.
23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.