Don’t be a Religious Hypocrite

I have been a religious hypocrite before. I tell what is wrong with others without first taking efforts to clean myself.

Matthew 7:3-5 (KJV) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

However, promoting religion or faith while pointing out the wrongdoing of others isn’t necessarily being hypocritical. It depends on the motive, which sometimes cannot be readily seen.

There are certain examples in the Bible wherein being religious and pointing out the mistakes of others can be labeled as hypocrisy, and these usually involved the religious leaders of that time.

You are a hypocrite if you show your good deeds to others to be praised. One example is how some stood in long prayers to be seen, subtly telling others that they don’t pray enough.

Matthew 6:5 (KJV) 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.

You are a hypocrite if by doing good you look upon yourself as more holy than others. In a parable, Jesus pointed this out clearly:

Luke 18:10-13 (KJV) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

You are a hypocrite if you tell others religious instructions, yet you yourself don’t apply them in life. This is a popular hypocrisy among teachers and leaders. So be warned, if you are a teacher of God’s Word, for you will be measured with higher standard (James 1:3).

Matthew 23:2-4 (KJV) Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Yet, if your motive for pointing out the wrongdoing of others is restoration and out of pure love, then it is not hypocrisy. It is rather being an accountable brother or sister in Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2 (KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Speaking the truth can sometimes hurt, especially if it means telling others their sins. However, it must be done. But it must be done in Christlike love.

Ephesians 4:15 (KJV) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Proverbs 27:5-6 (KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Broken Fellowships

By the term broken I didn’t mean having fractures. I only meant inward brokenness, or the brokenness of the heart.

I and my friends in the ministry and faith gathered as we were celebrating a birthday party. Our conversations however were mostly contrary to the usual ones that you’ll likely to hear during like events. We were happy to see each other, but we were also open to hear and learn from the wounds of the past.

In fact, I recall a particular passage in the Bible where God promised destruction as His discipline for His erring and stubborn children but also the rare privilege of being excluded from His anger upon hearing some who were talking of their sinfulness before God. Truly, God is near to them that are of a broken heart, and saves those who are contrite (Psalm 34:18).

I will go on to say that being broken and repentant in heart is something that pleases God, a sacrifice or a gift that God never takes for granted (Psalm 51:17). That is a lesson we learned from David when he was on the act of repenting to God after he realized his sins of adultery and murder.

Truly, it delights God to hear our praises. But often, we become hypocritical of concealing our weakness and sins and just choose to tell our good side – our ministry, sacrifices, and everything good that we do for the Lord. These good things are not bad in themselves, but God desires too that we reveal who we are truly before God – weak and always in need of help. This kind of spirit should never leave the Christian – it is a sign of continuous humility before God.

I observe that as Christians we are all in danger of feeling strong in ourselves. We often look on the outward things: the results of the ministry, the number of our members, our sacrifices, the amount of money that we contribute, or spiritual gifts at work, and the list could go on. But are these things really the measure of our true spirituality and condition before God? I am afraid that often, it is not.

I am saying this because we could choose to hide our flaws and sins behind our ministries and achievements. But deep inward – the part that sometimes only God could see (because we hide it from others) – we are filthy, weak, and in need of help.

Let true humility and repentance be in our hearts. It is never a shame to be honest before God. And by being broken, we could allow God to cleanse and mold us so we can be a blessing to others. By being tried, we could be a source of strength to others (2 Corinthians 1:6).