Hypocrisy

as it has from the beginning,  this study through the sermon on the mount is kicking my butt.

this section we’re in now…with jesus openly calling out hypocrites…is hitting way too close.   a hypocrite is a pretender…an actor…a faker…a poser…a person who wears a mask so that others see a person that doesn’t really exist in reality.

the church will  never be free of hypocrites…i definitely don’t say that to be pessimistic.   i just know that i don’t intend to leave the church any time soon.   i hope you don’t either.

but imagine for a moment what it would look like,  what it would say to others if,  by god’s grace and power,  we simply owned up to our hypocrisy and took off the mask.   what if we could stop caring so much about what people thought about us and just decided to live to please god?

but we like our masks.   some even have multiple masks…for all occasions.

an i’ve-got-my-act-together  mask.   a deep faith  mask.   a happily married  mask.   a friendly,  outgoing  mask.   a confident  mask.   a spiritual  mask.   an i-don’t-need-your-help  mask.

i think what it boils down to is fear.   we put on masks because we are afraid of being seen for who we really are.   afraid that we won’t be acceptable…to others…to god.   maybe,  deep down,  the mask is really being worn not to fool others,  but to con ourselves.

maybe if we wear our masks long enough,  we think we’ll somehow become that person we really aren’t.

jesus says in matthew 6:3-4…

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret.

the more i read that,  the more it seems like he is saying,  “stop trying to fool yourself.   stop trying to present an image of yourself…to yourself.”   don’t allow yourself to be impressed by what you are doing.   don’t be conned by the mask of generosity your right hand is offering.

now i may be reading more into the margins than is really there,  but there is no question that jesus is calling out hypocrisy.   and one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to somehow overlook our own struggle with it.

i wonder if there is a hypocrite mask we could put on?   maybe that’s what we need to begin to grow comfortable with who we really are.   maybe its just too painful…too scary…to go out in front of people naked.

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