“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:1
A sad and pathetic desperation to socialize and be accepted by man created a huge hypocrisy in my life and caused delays in my walk with God. As horrible as that may sound, this is actually a normal human condition. We all have a hypocritical side within us. It just isn’t advertised as such to our family and friends!
I think that we can all mark times in our lives when we have, whether directly or indirectly, declared “do as I say, not as I do”. This is just a natural human issue that many battle on a regular basis. Whether it is a conscience act, or subconsciously done, it is part of our fallen nature. Since God (and most folks around) wants us to live right and honest, and we do try, we still have that old sin nature within and it’s often easy to live two lives (hypocrisy) without too many woes.
In fact, this thing called hypocrisy has been going on for centuries, and is addressed in the Bible a number of times. Perhaps the greatest acknowledgement of hypocrisy comes from Jesus’ rebuke of the scribes and pharisees in the Gospels (particularly Mathew chapter 23). Sometimes called the “Woes of the Pharisees”, Jesus calls out the religious leaders of their time for being ‘high and mighty’ on the outside, yet contradictory in their hearts and lives. Essentially inner and outer moral states.
The leaders are supposed to be living examples of righteousness (right living under Gods laws). And, even though no one can keep the 10 Commandments completely, their position was to be above reproach…to teach and lead others in the proper ways expected by God. But, once you intermingle human sinful nature with greed and lust and power, it doesn’t take much to compromise yourself and your beliefs.
Which leads me back to my self-preaching.
First of all, I am not a preacher/teacher/leader in any way. So, my matter isn’t about growing in stature in any way. But, as a self-professing Christian, I do have a responsibility and commission from Christ to share the truth to the world (which can be the very next person I meet)…whether through my words or through my actions. But, since my actions don’t always correlate with my words, therein lies the problem! (Do as I say, not as I do)
The Bible doesn’t directly state to “be in the world, but not of the world“, but there are numerous verses that support this general ideology (John 15:19, Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15, John 17:14, Colossians 3:2, Ephesians 6:12). And here I am trying to “fit in”, as it were, yet also trying to “walk in faith”. Thus, walking in two worlds. Hypocrisy.
My hypocrisies are not any less or different from the pharisees of ancient times. Though the Bible is clear that teachers and preachers are held to a higher accountability than the average Joe, that doesn’t dismiss my walking in two worlds. God’s Spirit has been quite good at pointing out to me that my private world and public world can, at times, be contradictory to one another. This is sin and this is to be confessed, repented of, and begin walking in a new light.
Not always the easiest to do, mind you, but acknowledging sin and looking to the Bible and praying for a changed heart and mind regarding these things is a first step. We often regret our sins more than repent of them, but we need to keep taking steps forward with the help of the Holy Spirit, delving into the Scriptures for guidance and truth, and looking to Christ as our example!
Which leads to another topic, for another time: The hypocrisy of (most) modern churches today. Those leaders and preachers and teachers will have a lot of accounting to do before the Lord on judgement day! Can we be the change needed to alter the downward spiral of the false teaching going on within the church?