Worth Reading–October 25, 2011
By Chad Knudson
Last week I preached from Matthew 6:1-18. The passage deals with the motivations of our hearts when it comes to practicing righteousness. A tough passage, but here is one of the main applications I brought out. Jesus makes it clear who the hypocrite is in this passage: the one who seeks the favor of men rather than God. The most natural definition of the hypocrite is a person who says one thing, but does another. A person who puts on a false appearance of righteousness and piety. Often times this kind of hypocrite can be easily recognized; however, there is another kind of hypocrite that we all can become.
The other kind of hypocrite has experienced the grace of God, seeks to practice righteousness from a pure heart, and even believes that he or she is sincere in their efforts. Yet, this hypocrite is self-deceived. This hypocrite believes his or her desires are sincere, but actually they are very insincere. Insincerity, man-pleasing, and sinful motivations may not always be immediately discerned, but often only become apparent based on the way a person reacts to certain situations.
1.) This kind of hypocrite is disappointed when no on recognizes or complements them when they serve. They feel like a failure when no one tells then how great they are or what a wonderful job they did. They are frustrated when no one thanks them for their hard work.
2.) This kind of hypocrite is offended when they are not asked to do something important. To begin with, this person has a clear misperception of what is considered important. They talk a lot about serving, but are only interested in doing so in public ways; such as praying, leading, or teaching. They are interested in serving, but only to be recognized by others.
3.) This kind of hypocrite is upset when they are not getting the credit they think they deserve. They make many contributions to the body of Christ, but become frustrated when no one is paying them respect for it. Furthermore, they may even become jealous when someone else is being praised for doing the same thing they have already done.
Even though we may not express these attitudes outwardly–what is in our hearts? Do we become disappointed, offended, or upset in our hearts? As I mentioned before, often these feelings are not easily discerned at the beginning, but only become apparent based on how we react. Sadly, we all have been this sort of hypocrite.
Thankfully, we have Jesus. Despite my propensity to be a hypocrite and at times having been this sort of hypocrite; God accepts me based on Jesus’ consistent and non-hypocritical work, rather than my inconsistent and hypocritical work. When I am tempted to feel unappreciated, unrecognized, or even unloved for what I do, God has already fully displayed his recognition and love for me at the cross. The gospel leaves no room for selfishness or self-pity when I understand what God has already done for me in Christ.