According to the Oxford American Dictionary, hypocrisy is defined as the “practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.” In simpler terms hypocrisy is the act of making untrue things appear to be true. Today there is a prevailing culture that emphasizes authenticity or realness. Many strive both within the public and private sphere of their lives to “keep it real.” What exactly is “real”? It would be easy to say that it is living truthfully, claiming responsibility for one’s actions. But this black and white perspective cannot fully describe “realness,” after all living as human beings our lives are tinged with many shades of gray.
When Jesus was on the earth he took time out to address the issue of hypocrisy among his contemporaries.
Matthew 23:27-33 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
As spiritual leaders of the Jews, Pharisees had great responsibility. Unfortunately they became consumed with looking right as opposed to being right. It would be wise to take a lesson from their lives and to resist the urge to condemn them. Living one’s life by a set of rules, or traditions is legalistic, unfulfilling and does not impress God. While others will praise you for your ankle length skirts, your attendance to every church service and an ipod full of sermons and audio Bibles, if your heart is not focused on God’s will your efforts are fruitless. The relationship with Christ becomes a means to end rather as an end within itself and is reduced from its priceless and precious purpose to a mistaken and dangerous fraud- RELIGION.
To be “real” it would require us to acknowledge our own shortcomings and a willingness to overcome through Christ. Perfection cannot be attained while living on this earth. Whether we deal with secret sin or something that is a bit more difficult to hide, the focus of followers of Christ should be to remain in His will regardless. At times we may fall short of these expectations. However, with a genuine desire to live for Him we realize even in our weaknesses his strength makes us strong.