Nominated For Best Actor (or Actress)
Robert Wurtz II
And why do you stare at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:4-6)
Notice how our Lord uses the eye ball in this illustration. The eye is the most sensitive part of our body. Few things hurt as bad as getting poked in the eye or getting a scratch on the eye ball itself. If someone is going to work on our eyes, they need several things:
Of all the titles that a professed Christian would hope to be associated with their name — hypocrite is near the last. Few words have the power to bring one into derision as swiftly and completely as this one. The Lord Jesus used it on several occasions to describe behaviors that He clearly detested. The word commonly means an “actor on a stage” or an “impersonator.”
First, Hypocrites have grossly mixed-up priorities. For example, Jesus healed a woman in Luke 13 who had been oppressed of Satan for eighteen years. Rather than rejoicing, the leader of the synagogue went through the crowd indignantly telling the people that there were six days in a week to be healed, and the Sabbath was not one of them. Jesus exposed his hypocrisy by pointing out his willingness to break the Sabbath when he loosed his donkey from the stall to go water it. This statement exposed the man as a fraud. He only pretended to care about Sabbath breaking; that is, it was acceptable for him to do it for an animal, but not for Jesus to do it for a child of God. Amazing.
True hypocrites do pious things in order to appear spiritual and godly. They use their position and status to exalt themselves. If there were no self-glory in the thing, they will not do it. Jesus described the hypocrisy of those who pray, fast, or give money publicly, so people will see it. (Matthew 6:2ff) For Hypocrites, the term “brother” or “sister” is not enough; they expect to be called by titles like Rabbi or some other modern rendition. They figure they have “earned the right” to assume. Others are more pious suggesting they only want respect for the “position.” Nonsense. Imagine the madness of a person who will say Jesus, Paul, Peter or John, when referring to them; but themselves expect to be called apostle, prophet, pastor or deacon. Jesus was forever deflecting self-exalting titles. A good dosage of Philippians 2:3-8 is well in order as the antidote for such proud hypocrisy.
In Mark 7:6 Jesus describes a hypocrite as a person who honors Him with their mouth, but their heart is far from Him. This is a key definition. David was a man after God’s own heart — meaning that his heart was set on the things God’s heart is set on. This was not always true, but generally it was. He loved what God loves and hated what God hates. He wanted to please God in all things. A hypocrite says things to give the impression that they are men or women after God’s own heart, but it is a fraud. They really don’t agree with God and His word in the way they present themselves. They twist things to suit their own will while at the same time saying all the right things for the sake of appearances. Their words and actions do not match.
Finally, we are told by the Lord Jesus that hypocrites will have their place in the Lake of Fire. In Matthew 23:13-29, He gave a long succession of “woes” directed at hypocrites. They hinder people from entering the kingdom. They clean the outside of the cup, but not the inside. They work hard a making a proselyte, and when successful, train them to be more evil than they are. They are big on tithing and small on judging right from wrong; kindness to the afflicted, and a faithful conviction to uphold God’s word. The passage is well worth reading, studying, and pondering. Our Lord then states in Matthew 24:
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:50-51)
A hypocrite is often so self-deceived that they live their whole lives not realizing they are one. They can’t see that their whole Christian life is an act. They are performing for the people they have told they are a Christian. Jesus tried desperately to show the hypocrites of His time the error of their ways. Most simply got angry at Him. Nevertheless, we have to come to reality. It is too easy to just “put it on” for some people. They have an idea of how Christians are to behave, so they impersonate what they have watched. It is impossible to state how dangerous this type of behavior is.