(1) Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. (2) And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

Mark 7:1-2

“They found fault”. The Pharisees always found fault in others it seems. They watched others carefully. They memorized the myriad of laws and traditions their predecessors had created. They knew exactly how everyone ought to wash their hands, how far they could travel on the Sabbath, and what kind of tithe they should pay. And they watched to make sure everyone followed the party line. If someone stepped out of line, the Pharisees brought the appropriate judgment.

Hypocrites exist in the church today. But hypocrisy is a human problem, not a religious one. The hypocritical politician cuts a nation’s budget while expanding his own. The hypocritical environmentalist condemns people for driving cars while flying around the world for a conference to debate climate change. The father who disciplines a child for losing his temper who just moments before slammed doors and raised the roof in an argument with his wife.

We need to identify hypocrisy in ourselves. Hypocrisy,

  1. Condemns behavior in other’s that we allow for ourselves.
  2. Focuses on others’ faults
  3. Forgets the grace God shows to us and refuses to show it to others
  4. Tears down.
  5. Cares most about what others think about me

So, what can we do:

  1. Instead of standing over others in judgment, I should get alongside in support.
  2. I should focus on asking God to sanctify me, rather than try and change others
  3. I should remember God’s patience and grace which I’ve experienced, and extend it to others
  4. I should build up others
  5. I should care most about what God knows about me, not what I want others to think of me.

Two good character traits will help us avoid hypocrisy – humility and integrity.

Humility reminds me of my limitations and admits my faults. It doesn’t allow me to criticize others while excusing myself.

Integrity keeps my life an open book, remaining honest and consistent, making my reputation (who people think I am) match my character (who I really am).

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