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I must change my mind (aka repent). My nature, along with all of us, is one that is fallen and I constantly miss God’s goal (aka sin).

I try to cover that up by appearing to be a good person. I am not.

I am a hypocrite.

You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.’~Jesus  | Matthew 15:7–8

Master Jesus , the anointed King and Messiah, Son of God,

have mercy on me, a sinner!

There is good news. Jesus came to redeem me from this spiral of hypocrisy. I have the Spirit of God producing fruit in my life.

Hypocrisy — When deeds do not match words. Hypocrisy is an outward pretense masking an inner reality. Jesus condemns hypocrisy, especially in matters of faith. Followers of Jesus should express their commitment to God in their words and their deeds, as well as in their inner motivation. There should always be alignment of the heart, the mind and our actions.

The Greek word is ὑποκριτής (hupŏkritēs, hoop-ok-ree-tace) meaning  an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. a dissembler and hypocrite.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had many run-ins with the religious elites of the day, the Scribes and Pharisees. These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about following every letter of the Law (Acts 26:5). What would Jesus say today?

Today, the word pharisee has become synonymous with hypocrite. Translate it to the current religious elites. Some current day religious leaders (but not all by any means) are hypocrites. Warning! Beware!

Jesus is clear. Jesus detests hypocrites. Jesus calls us out all the time. My contempt allows me to ignore its reality in my life.

In adhering to the letter of the Law, they actively sought loopholes that allowed them to violate the spirit of the Law.

The religious elites displayed a lack of compassion toward their fellow man and were often overly demonstrative of their so-called spirituality in order to garner praise (Matthew 23:5–7; Luke 18:11).

Jesus denounced their behavior in no uncertain terms, pointing out that “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” are more important than pursuing a perfection based on faulty standards (Matthew 23:23).

Jesus made it clear that the problem was not with the Law but the way in which the Pharisees implemented it (Matthew 23:2-3).

The prophet Isaiah condemned the hypocrisy of his day: “The Master says, ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men’” (Isaiah 29:13).

Centuries later, Jesus quoted this verse, aiming the same condemnation at the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 15:8-9).

John the Baptist refused to give hypocrites a pass, telling them to produce “fruits worthy of changing how we think (aka repentance).” (Luke 3:8).

Jesus took an equally staunch stand against sanctimony.

  • He called hypocrites
    • “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15)
    • “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27)
    • “snakes,” and “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).