Matthew 23:27-28 (NKJV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Have you ever seen a person volunteer every chance they get, then hear them complain about helping to their friend? How about someone who is the most popular person you know, but you often see them sitting by themselves looking depressed? Maybe you see the person who organizes everything for the church come staggering out of a club to their car?
We all probably know at least one person who spends a lot of time pretending to be something they are not or the life of the party that always tries to be in the spotlight. I know that I only scratched the surface of the examples we could come up with. There are so many variations of these scenarios that you can play the what if game.
What if we concentrated on those who will do anything to get ahead at work, the ones that brag about their latest relationship, or can’t remember the last lie that they told. No matter the what if or category we want to use, the outcome is always the same. Our lives and the world are filled with superficial people.
Even if you realize this or see through the facade, the only thing we can really do is to confront them about their behavior. I don’t mean a get in your face confrontation or bringing them embarrassment with public ridicule. Rather I am talking about a more private conversation where you pull them to the side and speak to them about what they are doing.
Of course, you have to take your audience into consideration because some people do not care enough to change the way they act. We must remember that we cannot make a person behave any differently if they do not want to. It is often unfortunate that some people won’t hear a person who is just trying to help them.
An important item we must also keep in mind is to look at ourselves first. We can worry about others as much as we want, but if we frequently act as they do then we have no business to really be correcting them. We do not have to be perfect, but have to ensure that we are addressing anything in ourselves we wish to correct in others.
I have had several bosses over the years that had the motto, “Do as I say and not as I do.” If we are a parent, we may put the phrase into practice ourselves. I know that I have. Don’t talk back, don’t swear, don’t drink, don’t fight. This is another list that I can probably easily fill a page with.
I know that I have pledged to not be that person, but have at times failed miserably. I wasted too much time in my life either being a hypocrite or feeling guilty that I have. I finally got to the point where I had to change things for myself, and the opportunity presented itself when I had a chance to rededicate my life back to Christ.
I immediately felt a weight being lifted and knew the work had only just begun. Not only did the words of the opening scripture have new meaning, but Romans 2:1 did as well, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Not only had I actually been dead on the inside, I spent too much time correcting others for what I was doing myself. When you walk around with your chest puffed out thinking that you are the greatest at what you do, it is not easy realizing that you may have a heart that is dead to what really matters. Being guided by selfish ambition or a quest for more recognition can make that emptiness even more profound.
1 Corinthians 10:31 gives us a simple step to follow as we set out to change what we find after we spend some time in deep reflection. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Taking a moment to do this may seem easy, but you will quickly find out that we have many habits that we fall into without thinking about it.
However, realizing we have areas to work on is half the battle. Once we set off down the road to honor God with our actions, we need to spend time in His Word for a better understanding of what is expected. We will also find the comfort and encouragement we may need the deeper we dig into scripture to apply the lessons we learn.
One thing we will find as we study is what Jesus pointed out in Mark 7:6, “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.”
The Pharisees wanted to take issue with something that was a manmade tradition, but Jesus quickly voiced their error. This is why reading and studying the Bible is so important to find the truth we seek. It gives us a chance to separate the facts from the fiction that is frequently added by man.
So, join me on a new journey to come closer to God by honoring Him with all we do. Life may actually seem easier because we will no longer have to spend time trying to impress others. As we remember that everything is for His glory, not ours, please enjoy , “A Brand New Start.”
A BRAND NEW START
I can see the beauty that makes them look so fine,
Then add clothing and jewelry that makes them shine.
Always walking around with a puffed out chest,
Bragging about all they’ve done and how they’re the best.
No matter the conversation, they always claim to know,
Even without a spotlight they want to put on a show.
As I see these actions I have to look at what I do,
Lord. how do I prevent myself from acting like this too?
Dear child, start with yourself by looking deep inside,
Find all those thoughts and emotions you try to hide.
Selfish impulses and the hurtful words you think or say,
You need to bring it all out into the light of day.
When your soul don’t match what you are portraying,
You show pretend beliefs and the kingdom betraying.
You must come back to me with a faithful heart,
To let the Spirit fill you up for A Brand New Start.
Simple Faith Christian