BIBLE READING: Matthew 23
If you have invited anyone to church, you have most likely heard the same excuse about not wanting to attend. It is an excuse that cuts chillingly to the bone of most church goers when they hear it and instantly puts them on the defensive. “I will not go to church, because the church is full of hypocrites.”
Churches are filled with hypocrites. Of course, the biggest of the hypocrites are those wagging their judging fingers at those who are at least attempting to do what’s right and Scriptural, and at least do attend church. No one is perfect. If we were, we would have holes in our hands, and our first name would be Jesus! We are not perfect, just forgiven. We do not always practice what we preach. Yes, we can be hypocritical.
There is no new problem with “walking the talk”. Jesus dealt with it quite often. Matthew 23 is dedicated to how he dealt with hypocrisy, and what He thought of them. In this chapter there were temple-attending, Old Testament-quoting Jews. Many of them were spiritual leaders. Jesus made it quite clear to Jewish leaders and intellectuals (scribes) that although they appeared holy and righteous on the outside, He knew the condition of their hearts.
He told them their works were not for the glory of God but for their own egos. Jesus also knew they liked the special attention they got and how they had even adopted titles that made them sound holier than anyone else in the congregation. It was this same “holy” crowd that Jesus looked square in the eye and revealed what He knew about their heart, “Ye are like unto whited sepulchers (tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
Today we have the same problem. People may put on their best Sunday clothes, carry their Bible high and proud, and even convince many that they are close to God by their long, public prayers. They cannot hide who they really are. Those who are seen as hypocrites are exposing who they really are by their actions.
Unfortunately, most people do not faithfully read their Bible. The closest they ever come to the things of God is through their eyes as they watch a Christian go through life. They quite often know, or think they know, how a Christian should live and act. Calling a Christian a “hypocrite” is just an excuse for them not to even begin to obey the Lord.
If you are a Christian, never forget that there is always someone watching you. Are you being a good testimony for Christianity or is your example just another “excuse” for someone to not even begin to live for the Lord? You may be the only example your neighbors and acquaintances ever see of how a Christian should live!