Be Still Know
Matthew 15.7-9 NLT
Jesus said, ”You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”
If you talk to non-Christians about their criticisms of the church, time and again they will point to hypocrisy as being the most off-putting factor. They see Christians saying one thing and then living completely differently and it gives Christianity a bad name. Jesus would have completely agreed with them. He was vitriolic in his condemnation of hypocrisy whenever he saw it. On this particular day the Pharisees and teachers of the law were criticising the disciples for not complying with the age-old regulations for ceremonial hand washing before meals. In response, Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees had come up with a way of getting round people’s duty to honour their parents. Instead of giving something to their parents they were simply able to say that they had vowed to give it to God, and then they could ignore their duty to their parents. Jesus was livid, and said that they were effectively cancelling out the word of God for the sake of their own tradition.
Hypocrisy is always detestable, but there’s a problem here because none of us is perfect. We all fall short of perfect standards and
so we must all hold our hands up and say that, from time to time, there will be a gap between what we say and what we do. In the words that Jesus quoted from Isaiah there was clearly an agonising gulf between the people’s worship and their lives. They said all the right things but, in point of fact, their immoral way of life meant that their worship was a farce. It was just play acting.
There is nothing more wonderful than to meet people whose words and lives tell the same story. Their lives ring true. Let’s pray that God will help us to live like that today.
Question: What can you do to guard yourself from hypocrisy?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to live so close to you that there will never be a gap between my worship and my daily life. Amen
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