ARE YOU A HYPOCRITE?
Memorise: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. Matthew 6:5; Read- Mark 7:1-6, Bible in one year: Matthew 19:1-21:27; Job 14:7-17
Hypocrisy is a type of behaviour in which a person pretends to have moral standards or opinions, but does not actually live by them. Hypocrisy is a decadence condemned by the church and society. Paradoxically, its manifestation is commonplace in both the church and the society. The Bible warns against and condemns hypocrisy in the strongest terms. Luke 11:44 says,
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.”
Hypocrisy is manifested in many ways. First, it is manifested in giving (Matthew 6:1-4). Giving is good and scriptural. A Christian is expected to give cheerfully, abundantly, sacrificially and lovingly. We should give our time, money, talents and energy for the expansion of the kingdom of God and the furtherance of His work on earth. However, when giving, a hypocrite is pretentious. He either gives sparingly while giving while at the same time passing off as the best giver. A hypocrite wants every act of his giving to be acknowledged in public. He engages in charitable work simply for self-aggrandizement. Are you a hypocrite? How do you give? What motives are behind your acts of charity?
A second area in which hypocrisy finds expression is in prayer. Prayer is an obligation, and God answers prayers. He enjoys us to ask and instructed us to pray without ceasing. The hypocrite prays. He however has a wrong motive for praying. He cannot be said to be praying to God. A hypocrite prays to be seen by men (Matthew 6:5). Hypocrites do not engage in secret prayers; they will only pray where men can see and acknowledge them as prayerful persons. What is the motive behind your prayers? What do you pray? Why do you pray? How do you pray? Do you limit your prayers to places where men can see or hear you pray? Do you pray to be acknowledged by men as a prayer warrior? A third area in which hypocrisy finds expression is in fasting. Fasting is scriptural. Christians should however not be hypocritical in fasting (Matthew 6:16). A hypocrite fasts in order to be seen by men. He announces his fast and does things to make men acknowledge the fast. This is unscriptural. Whenever you fast, let it between you and God. Finally a hypocrite is fraudulent. He is dubious, exploitative and through pretexts appears to be religious. Are you a hypocrite?
If you notice any act of hypocrisy in your life, repent and turn a new leaf.