February / March 2019 - Vol. 102
hands trying to cover face .

The Trap of Hypocrisy  
by Tom Caballes

"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

While He was here on earth, Jesus showed love and compassion to sinners. He reached out to tax collectors, social outcasts, and adulterers. He also met a lot of hypocrites. Out of His concern for the hypocrites, He chastised and warned them. Why? Hypocrites are like blind people – they think they are okay and doing well, but in reality, they are not. Some of them call Jesus “Lord,” but their actions are very different from what they say. The term hypocrisy comes from a Greek term for actors – “mask-wearers” or pretenders. People can wear masks for a long time that they forget about it. Hypocrisy is a trap; once you fall into it, it blinds you to see that you are trapped. Is there a trace of hypocrisy in your life? Root it out before it completely blinds you.

So How Do We Avoid the Trap of Hypocrisy?   

  1. Be clear what do you want to accomplish in your life and be consistent with it. Aim to please God, not people. Most of the times, people-pleasing is not in accord with God-pleasing. It is better to be respected by other people rather than be liked. People-pleasing is a slippery slope towards hypocrisy. Let your approval and appreciation come from God alone; if people approve of you, that is fine; but do not seek it.
  2. Always be humble before God. We will all be sinners until the day we die. We want to grow in holiness in our character, but all of these is due to God’s grace. We cannot even be proud of our own growing in holiness before God. Honesty and humility prevent us from wearing masks in front of other people.
  3. Live by the truth all the time and do not lie – it is wearing a mask - hypocrisy. Aim to root out sin in your life. Call sin a sin and do not sugar-coat it. Seek a trusted person for help in rooting out stubborn sins in your life.
  4. Do not live a double life – we act one way with Christians and another with others. This is the essence of hypocrisy. Aim to live an integrated life that all people can see, including God; for God sees everything.
  5. Forgive from the heart. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20 ESV) You can only truly love God if you have no grudges against anyone; otherwise, you are a hypocrite. Set yourself free and forgive.
  6. Control your tongue. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. (James 1:26 ESV) Use your tongue to give grace to others; otherwise, tuck it in.
  7. When you see someone’s sins or failings, remind yourself of your own. If you want to cast stones, judge, and criticise others, throw one at yourself as well – we are all sinners in God’s eyes. Develop the habit of throwing the first stone at yourself when you are tempted to condemn or lash out at others’ sins and faults.
  8. In the end, life is a matter between you and God. It will not matter how many people you have pleased or not in your lifetime. It will not matter how you appeared before anyone. God sees your actions and your heart. If you did what you did because you love God, that is enough, no matter what others may say. What you should long and wait for are to hear these words: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:23 ESV) 
Other Scripture passages:
  1.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2-3 ESV)
  2. Beware of practising your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1 ESV)
  3. Other Bible verses: Isaiah 29:13; Luke 8: 9-14; Romans 12:9; and 1 John 2:9.
For personal reflection or group sharing
  • In what ways have you been a people-pleaser rather than a God-pleaser?
  • Is there a tinge of hypocrisy in your life? How often do you lie?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.


Top image: surreal portrait of man trying to cover face and eyes with his hands, from Bigstock.com  Photo ID 7678071
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