Hypocrisy is by no means a new subject in the church. We've been preaching against it - while admitting to living it - for quite some time now. And make no mistake, Jesus is pretty clear about how He feels about it. He called the crowd around, called out the Pharisees, and said, "Listen to the teachers and Pharisees. But don't you dare follow their example. Everything they do is for show." (Matt. 23:1-5) We often get caught up in this game of "keeping up appearances". But I think there's another side to hypocrisy where we're often even more guilty, and sadly...unaware.
In Galatians 6, the Apostle Paul exhorts the church to "gently and humbly help others" who are overcome by sin. And to "share each other's troubles" or "bear each other's burdens". I think we're pretty good at this. Most of us, most of the time, anyways. We have a genuine desire to help other people, to walk with them, see them restored, and to carry their burdens with them when they just get too heavy. But the hypocrisy creeps in when suddenly we're sitting on the other side of the table. Sure, I'll help you. But no way I'm going to ask you to help me carry my burden. In fact, I don't even want you to know that I'm carrying it! And please, feel the freedom to confess your sin to me - to let me pray for you and walk with you. But don't even think I'm going to come clean and bear my soul! Forget you! This is our New & Improved Hypocrisy!
In yesterday's message, I gave what I consider to be a standard or principle with which you can know whether or not you're walking down a path toward hypocrisy: If you're not being really, seriously, genuinely, authentically REAL with SOMEONE, then most likely (to some extent), you're being FAKE with EVERYONE!
Give it another read and think on it for a moment.
I know people are probably genuinely sick of hearing me talk about accountability. Tough crap! Until I know that the people God has placed in my life to lead and pastor - ALL of them - are taking deliberate and intentional steps in their lives to guard and protect their hearts and to challenge and nurture their steps toward Christlikeness, there will be no shutting up on this subject. [And I'm fully aware that we have quite a few "butts in the seats" who come weekly in an attempt to blend in and get by. I'm not OK with this! I don't believe that knowing Jesus Christ - the Savior of the UNIVERSE - produces wallflowers!] This isn't a junior high dance - it's your LIFE! Are you in or not? Do you seriously buy into the Word of God? The whole thing? If so, you need to meditate on 1 John 1:8-10 and James 5:16 (yes, that verse again!). You need to give the Lord an opportunity to pull back the curtain - think Wizard of Oz - and show you the real condition of your heart. Is what others are seeing on the outside a reflection of what's going on in the depths? Is there integrity there? Because you do realize this is THE reason Christ took issue with the Pharisees? They were "keeping up appearances". Are you?
I challenge you to begin asking the Lord to show you the real condition of things. And as He reveals it to you, I encourage you to confess it to someone else. The Lord has CALLED US OUT to confess our sins to Him AND to each other. Don't walk alone. Because if you do...you're a hypocrite!