Hypocrisy is one of the things Jesus taught very strongly against. In-fact, it’s one of those “those who do this will not enter the kingdom of heaven” kind of offenses.
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. – Luke 12:1
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:20
We are told that if our righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. What kind of hypocrisy did the Scribes and Pharisees show?
- Doing good to be seen by others.
- A “do as I say, not as I do” kind of mentality.
- Hating others in their hearts.
- Portraying an outward form of Godliness, but inwardly they are full of greed, pride, disobedience, hatefulness, and other manners of darkness.
So often there are those who outwardly appear to be everything a good person, or good Christian should be, but inwardly they are full of hypocrisy because they disobey the truth of the Lord, they judge others for things they do themselves, or they look down on the sins of others over their own.
I think a lot of hypocrisy can be solved by a change of heart that understands the mercy and sovereignty of the Lord.
When we think about the fact that none of us have been without sin, and place that in the understanding that all good in us comes from God, then to look down on others because of their sin, to in any way despise them in our hearts or hold ourselves as somehow better than them is hypocrisy. It is self-righteousness, and invariably the mark of someone who has a beam in their own eye that needs to be removed.
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:5
If we have the mind of Christ, we will be compassionate towards those who are in bonds to sin, understanding that one of two things is often the case. Either they know they are sinning and it is a struggle for them, even if a struggle we never had and don’t understand, or they really don’t know what they are doing. In either case, this person should be shown mercy and understanding – which goes a longer way towards leading them to Jesus than hatefulness and a holier-than-thou attitude.
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; – 2 Timothy 2:25
It all comes down to the heart we hold when judging something. It’s never okay for us to:
- Condemn someone. Even the angels in heaven cannot discern between the wheat (Christians) and tares (non-Christians). We should be careful in pegging anyone. We don’t always know who the children of God are.
- Degrade someone. It’s one thing to point out a fault, and another to tie personal attacks to that fault. If we inwardly or outwardly call someone names, hold unrighteous anger and bitterness, or jump to conclusions about their character because of a sin, then we better start worrying more about our own sins that lead us to judge harshly rather than worrying about someone else’s sin.
- Back-stab someone. Gossip is so damaging, yet many of us do it. It can become a habit that is hard to break. But, it’s not fair to jump to conclusions about people, or even talk about a wrong doing that is true without allowing that person to defend themselves. Even if they did wrong, we don’t always know the hidden struggles that person might be going through – situations that we might not be able to handle either, if we were in their shoes. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. – Titus 3:2
Yes, hypocrites are in danger of judgment – but guess what – to despise them makes us hypocrites too!
I have a very hard time with people, especially Christians, who have a self-righteous and hypocritical attitude. But, I’ve went further in that I held a lot of bitterness towards these people, often forgetting that hypocrisy is a bond too – one that I myself am stuck in at times – so by judging the hypocrite harshly, I’m a hypocrite too!
I have no right to judge anyone too harshly for anything, because I’ve probably done the same thing in one form or another, and any measure of turning away from sin I’ve had is only by the mercy, grace, and power of Jesus.
Think about it. How easy is it to fall into hypocrisy?
It is so easy to look down on others because they struggle with something, that to us, should not be a struggle. We have to remember that things that come naturally to us don’t come naturally to all. Things we don’t find tempting might crush another. And if we look closely enough, we might find that the people we judge harshly are stronger in something that we are weak to. It’s just how it is.
But, if we are one in Christ as we should be, then we will use our strengths to help one another, not tear down. We will gently lead our brothers and sisters out of sin, and they may do the same for us in return. I think that’s how it’s supposed to work. If we all had the same struggles, who would help us? Instead of judging harshly and hypocritically, we should judge the righteous judgment of God with a heart of compassion and gentleness – and also a heart that is willing to accept the righteous judgment God gives others to share for our own growth.
- Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; – Colossians 3:12
Unforgiveness is one of the greatest forms of Hypocrisy
|The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Matthew 18:21-35King James Version (KJV)
One very important thing to remember regarding hypocrisy, is that when the Lord frees us from a sin, we should ALWAYS show compassion towards others who struggle in that way. This might seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget the mercy of the Lord towards us. If we fail to extend the same mercy to others as He shows us, then we might find that mercy taken away and the bonds of sin ruling our lives – especially bonds that we have judged others harshly for having.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. – Galatians 6:1
On a final note: Jesus can heal us from hypocrisy!
I don’t think a single person alive can say they have been without hypocrisy. It’s so easy to fall into, and it comes in many forms. Considering the strong feelings the Lord showed on hypocrisy, I think it’s a good idea for us to seek Him in this. If we ask Him to reveal our hypocrisies to us, the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts and lead us to truth so that we might repent and turn away from all darkness. But, as with all sin, the battle against hypocrisy is a journey. We might find freedom from one type just to later discover another. But, we know that Jesus is faithful and true, and if we seek His promises to heal us from hypocrisy, He will!