Please keep the following in mind throughout this article – the original word translated as "hypocrite" in the New Testament has to do with playing a part on stage or acting.
People are really turned off by hypocrites. In a previous arti-
cle, I talked about how many give the following reason for not assembling with a group of saints to worship, "There are a bunch a hypocrites there." I would say that in most cases, a hypocrite will not admit to being a hypocrite. I believe there are those living hypocritical lives that will readily admit it, but there are many who deny their hypocrisy, justifying their behavior.
Hypocrisy is something Jesus was quick to condemn. Matthew records Jesus calling some pharisees and scribes hypocrites seven times, and this is within one chapter (23). These religious leaders do not admit they are hypocrites, but Jesus makes the undeniable case they are. But we would never deny our hypocrisy, right?
Picture this – a husband and wife get into a very heated argument on Sunday morning. They yell and name call, even on the way to the assembly. They get out of the car, furious on the inside, but with a fake smile on the outside, answering "How are you?" with "Fine."
Did you keep in mind the definition of a hypocrite? If not, read the second sentence again. An actor pretends something is the case, when in reality, it is not. We can be quick to label others as hypocrites, but do we pretend certain things are the case sometimes, when in reality, they are not? I do. Why does the married couple hide what really happened? Why do people act as if things are OK when they are not? There are likely different reasons, but I want to submit one – pride.
Those religious leaders in Jesus’ day pointed out the faults of others because it made them look good. They did not look at their own faults. One has to humble himself to do that.
The couple hiding what really happened is ashamed of what others will think of them if it was known what they did that morning. They have to humble themselves to admit that.
Pride causes people to act as if things are how they are not. One way to guard against hypocrisy is to swallow pride and admit our faults, rather than acting as if we do not have them.
Trent Childers is an evangelist with Collierville Church of Christ, located at 575 Shelton Road. The church assembles regularly on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Childers is married to the love of his life, Kelley and they have a cat named Oliver. His Bible-based addiction recovery book "Pressing Forward" can be ordered at start2finish.org