Am I a Hypocrite? 5 Ways to Fight Hypocrisy in Your Life
A few months ago, I told a young lady who is training to be a minister at my church that she needed to start reaching out to the women within our ministry. I felt like a hypocrite saying this, because I also struggle to reach out to people I don’t know. In fact, I hesitated two weeks to give her those instructions because I didn’t want to tell her to do something that I didn’t always do. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.
What is a Hypocrite?
A hypocrite is an actor, a pretender. A hypocrite wants honor and attention. A hypocrite will tell you what to do but can’t take her own advice. Jesus spoke a lot in the Bible about hypocrites, warning his listeners against doing and saying things just to be seen by people. Christian hypocrites can quote the Bible, but won’t live according to Biblical principles.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I’m sure no one who truly loves the Lord wants to be one either. And we don’t have to be. We can live this Christian life as repentant hypocrites. Indeed, we can strive each day to walk in sincerity, truth, and purity.
Jesus doesn’t want us to be ignorant. He has provided instructions to us in the Bible to help us fight hypocrisy in our own lives. Below are five ways Christian women can fight hypocrisy in their own lives.
1. Do Your Good Works in Secret
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:2).
Jesus teaches valuable lessons about fighting hypocrisy in our own lives in Matthew 6:2-16:
- Jesus admonishes us in Matthew 6:2 not to bring attention to ourselves when we give to the poor.
- He states in Matthew 6:5 not to pray to be seen by men.
- He also teaches us not to fast to be seen by people (see Matthew 6:16).
Whenever we perform good deeds, we should ensure we aren’t doing them simply to be seen and honored by people. We don’t have to let everyone know we gave to the poor. We don’t have to pray loudly to attract attention. Nor should we make a spectacle out of fasting.
Unfortunately, it’s human nature to want acknowledgment, accolades, and attention from people. If we’re performing good deeds with the wrong intentions, we needn’t expect a further reward from God. The accolades we receive will be our reward.
Indeed, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:3-4 not to let our left hand know what the right hand is doing. In other words, we should perform our good deeds in secret. When we perform good deeds in secret, God will bless us. And any blessing from God is better than accolades from man.
2. Be Slow to Judge Others
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you…You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eyes.” (Matthew 7:1-2, 5).
Hypocrites judge and criticize others. They are quick to point out others’ faults and flaws instead of focusing on their own. Furthermore, hypocrites will emphasize your sins and condemn you while making excuses for, or ignoring their own. An example of this is someone who condemns homosexuals to hell while ignoring their own fornication, adultery, or other sins.
Christian women who love the Lord should refrain from judging others. We need to remember we aren’t God and, many times, are unable to judge with righteous judgment. Instead of judging others, we should ask the Lord to show us ourselves and to help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see Romans 12:2). Then and only then will see others clearly to help them.
3. Be Quick to Extend Mercy
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy, and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”(Matthew 23:23)
Hypocrites’ adherence to rules and regulations can cause them to neglect extending justice, mercy, and faithfulness to others. When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who’d been caught in adultery to Jesus, they fully expected him to punish her according to the law of Moses. Instead, Jesus challenged their hearts, saying, “…he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7).
To safeguard against highlighting other peoples’ sins, Christian women should look for opportunities to extend mercy as well as justice and faithfulness. When we encounter someone caught in a sin, we should pray for them, extending mercy to them remembering, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).
4. Work on Inward Sanctification More than Outward Appearances
“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” (Matthew 23:26).
Hypocrites are more concerned with their outward appearance than they are with the true condition of their hearts. Remember, hypocrites seek to look good in front of people. They want to keep up appearances because their hearts are wicked.
Christian women should be more concerned with the condition of their hearts and spirits. We want to walk in holiness and godliness. Christian women should be led by God’s Spirit so that we can always display the fruit of the Spirit. We should seek to please God instead of trying to please people.
5. Love Sincerely
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9).
As we’ve been discussing, hypocrites are more concerned with appearances than they are with sincerity and truth. Hypocrites will claim to love someone when they don’t because their love comes with ulterior motives. Hypocrites will appear to love others only to obtain favors and promotions.
Christian women who desire to fight hypocrisy in their own lives will guard against dissimulation. Instead, they want to love sincerely, purely. Christian women will desire to love others the way Christ loves us: unconditionally. When we love others from a pure heart the way Christ loves us, we will operate according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Why It’s So Important to Fight against Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is evil and wicked in God’s sight. Thus, Christian women should be vigilant to guard against it in our lives. We want to walk uprightly before the Lord and in sincerity and truth amongst His people. When the Spirit of God leads us, and we seek only to please Him, we guard ourselves against hypocrisy. There’s enough counterfeit in the world today. There are enough actors and pretenders in the church. Let’s commit to walking without hypocrisy before the Lord.
A Prayer against Hypocrisy:
Father, we come to you in prayer, asking you to forgive us of any hypocrisy we have shown in our Christian walks. Deliver us from any desire to be seen. Deliver us from needing acceptance, approval, and acknowledgment from man. Help us to keep our minds on things above. Help us to walk uprightly and godly before you, without dissimulation or hypocrisy.
In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking Victoriously. Aretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.
Photo Credit: ©Getty/utah778