Misunderstood Hypocrisy

By Jackie Gable

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

One of the biggest misconceptions amongst Christian teenagers (or those simply raised in a Christian home) is about hypocrisy. Teenagers love to accuse their friends, enemies, authority figures, and everyone else for that matter of being a bunch of hypocrites. This idea of hypocrisy has a tendency to cause great confusion in the minds of teenagers. Most of the time, the word and Biblical definition are sorely misunderstood. I hope I can clearly explain things and not cause more confusion.

{Defining Hypocrisy}

Really, hypocrisy is a conflict between feelings and knowledge – Should I obey God even when I don’t feel like it? (of course) And if so, doesn’t that make me a hypocrite? No, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s never right to do wrong. We shouldn’t accuse a Christian of being hypocritical when they really are trying as hard as they can to please God!

Hypocrisy is all about appearance. It’s pretending to believe something; it’s an act – all for self-glory to persuade others to think a certain way about you. In other words, hypocrisy is a pride-booster. Now, I’ve never met a person who has great Godly character but puts on a show of rebellion and wickedness to make others think they’re not good! Usually it’s the other way around.  But, when you’re a true Christian, and you’re trying to do what’s right, in a sense, you’re just being consistent with who you are (or at least who you’re supposed to be) – a little Christ.  In reality, it’s the rebellious unbeliever who’s trying to act like a Christian that is the real hypocrite.

{Clarifying Hypocrisy}

Jesus uses the Scribes and Pharisees as an example of hypocrisy in the book of Matthew. They were all so fake! They boasted about all their righteousness but in reality, they didn’t even know the Righteous One. The Pharisees were hypocrites because they were unbelievers acting like believers. Likewise, Christians are hypocrites when they act like unbelievers. So if you are saved, you are a hypocrite when you sin. If you are not saved, you are a hypocrite when you put on the appearance of a Christian (by your works). But remember, “It’s never right to do wrong.” Your greatest need as a lost person is to believe on Christ and repent of sin, not to shove your license to sin in the face of believers.

{Overcoming Hypocrisy}

Christian young lady, don’t be discouraged! Hypocrisy is something every Christian deals with – and if a Christian ever denies that they are one, then they need to take a good look in the mirror! The day you trusted Christ, old things passed away and all things became new. But in case you haven’t noticed yet, you’re still you; you still have fleshly desires that go against God’s Spirit inside you. If you claim to have the Spirit, then walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25) Don’t allow your feelings to get in the way of obeying God. Don’t allow mockers and haters of God to derail your attempt to follow Him!

KEY: If you don’t want to be labeled a hypocrite, work on the two following character traits–

*Humility – examine yourself often and be real with others. Don’t be afraid to share your struggles with close friends and your parents. If you make it a habit to give God the credit for your accomplishments and own up to your mistakes, then no one will have cause to label you a hypocrite.

*Love – develop your love for God through spending time with Him in prayer and Bible study. Read books about God’s character and spend time with others who clearly love God. Learning more about God will make you love Him more and when we love God we want to please Him, thereby giving us the most non-hypocritical heart available – the heart of God!  It’s impossible to be a hypocrite when we’re in love with God.

I hope you have a better understanding of hypocrisy and that you choose to please God with your life. I challenge you to work on the areas in your life where you are hypocritical. And as for the scoffers, remember, there is always a cost to living Godly. But there is an even greater eventual cost to living ungodly.

“… the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41b


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