We all hate hypocrisy. We hate it when we see it in other people, we despise it when we see it in the Church, and we hate it when we see it in ourselves too.
Wouldn’t it be nice if hypocrisy was like a virus, and we could go to the doctor and say, “I have a bad case of hypocrisy. Will you cure me?” And then the doctor would write a prescription and say, “Here you go. Take three pills and you’ll be done.”
Unfortunately, hypocrisy is a lot more complex than that. It has to do with your heart, your mind, your attitudes, and your relationship with God and people.
Thankfully, God does have a cure for hypocrisy.
In Luke, chapter 6, Jesus tells us what it is:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?’”
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42)
Jesus says if we want to deal with hypocrisy, then we need to do these three things:
- Begin within. Start with yourself. Refuse to compare yourself with other people and refuse to evaluate what is wrong with other people.
Have you ever been in a meeting or at church and you find yourself looking around and evaluating how people are dressed, what they’re saying, what their motives are, where they are coming from, and why? It’s easy to be critical of others. But if you want to guard yourself against hypocrisy, and you want your words and your actions to align, then you first need to begin with you.
- Start with your heart. If you want to deal with hypocrisy, don’t focus on externals. Don’t try and just clean up this or that. And don’t try and just appear a little bit differently. Focus on being filled with the Holy Spirit – allowing God to be in control of your heart and your mind. Then your speech, attitudes, emotions, and relationships will follow.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. (Matthew 12:34-35)
- Weigh the consequences. Get motivated by the great reward of authenticity and be deterred by the huge price tag of hypocrisy.
There are tremendous benefits when we’re walking authentically with God. Despite difficulties like financial loss and relational breakdowns, we will be able to stand on the stability of trusting God. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. (Luke 6:48)
On the flip side, there are huge consequences for those who don’t “walk their talk.” But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (v. 49)
My prayers are with you as you seek God’s help to build a house with a solid foundation.
If you’d like to know more about how to overcome hypocrisy and live a winsome, whole and holy life, check out Chip’s series Stop Faking It! Live Without Hypocrisy.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip