The Cost of Hypocrisy
What is a hypocrite? The dictionary defines a hypocrite as a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess – a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
As you may know, this word comes from a Greek word hypokrit, which was a stage actor. Someone who was pretending to be something they were not. That’s exactly what happened in Acts 5 with a man named Ananias and Sapphira his wife.
Everyone in the early church agreed to sell their possessions and pool all of their resources so that each one might be equal. Ananias and Sapphira, a part of that congregation agreed as well. But after they sold their things, they kept part of the money. It was theirs to keep of course – but they were hypocrites – they lead everyone to believe that they were bringing the whole amount. Peter said that Satan filled their hearts and they lied to the Holy Spirit. That never works! In that early church they dropped dead – both of them! I wonder how our lives would change if that happened at our church? Verse 11 says that great fear gripped the entire church. I bet! That’s the understatement of the year!
I wonder how you and I act like that: how are we hypocrites? What are the ways in which we say one thing and do another? How do we lead people to believe something about us that simply isn’t true in order to be accepted or to have the praise of man? Have we even gotten to the place that we’ve convinced ourselves that something is OK when we KNOW that God says it isn’t?
The most important thing is to have a pure heart. The opposite of being a hypocrite is to have integrity. Integrity is truly being what you say you are. There’s protection and peace in that!
What needs to change in your life this week? In what ways are you living a life of hypocrisy? How can you begin to live with integrity?
By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor