[PC-USA] 2000-01-16 - Passages about Hypocrisy

In my French class, we are studying the Molière play, Le Tartuffe. Tartuffe was a hypocrite, an "imposteur." He pretended to be a pious spiritual leader, when in fact he was a "con man," taking advantage of his hosts' adulation and gullibility. Hypocrisy comes in many forms. We indulge in it if we criticize people for shoplifting, yet use our boss' phone to make long-distance calls, which is itself a form of theft. Or we judge someone for being a bigot, when we ourselves harbor prejudice in our hearts against people, because of their weight. Or we look down upon someone because they have made a mistake (i.e. an unwed mother), blinded to the fact that God detests our pride. The Bible, and especially Christ's teachings, has much to say about hypocrisy. Here are some passages.

Summaries of Hypocrisy:

Hearts are far from God:

(Mat 15:4-9 NRSV) For God said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.' But you say that whoever tells father or mother, 'Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,' then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'"

(Mat 23:27-28 NRSV) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

We condemn others for what we do ourselves:

(Luke 6:41-42 NRSV) Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.

Examples of Hypocritical Behavior:

(Luke 11:42 NRSV) But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others.

(Mat 6:5-6 NRSV) And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

(Mat 23:15 NRSV) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

(Mat 23:25 NRSV) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

(Luke 13:11-16 NRSV) And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day." But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?"

We are not to be close friends with hypocrites:

(Psa 26:3-4 NRSV) For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you. I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites.

God will punish hypocrisy:

(Mat 24:51 NRSV) He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.