Thursday, January 29, 2009


The word “hypocrite” is an interesting word. The English comes directly from the transliteration of a Greek word, hypokrites which means “to play a part, to act out, to feign.”

In the early days of Christ, most of the drama that occurred on the stage was done by actors who had masks in front of their faces. You might have seen the traditional icon of the stage that consists of two masks. One mask is a man with a deep frown and the other is a man smiling a broad grin. That emanates from the Greek stage.

The masks hid who the actors really were, and allowed them to act as if they were someone else. The word “hypocrite” eventually came to mean someone who is acting as if they are someone or something else. A person may look spiritual, but it is just an act. Or they look moral, but it is a mask hiding dark secrets.

By God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be authentic Christians. Honest, humble, full of grace and truth as we depend on God and His Word. Integrity and evangelism are powerful companions!

Unmasking Hypocrisy

Sorry for the long Blog drought. Life is busy ...but so it is for everybody I know!

This Sunday I will be preaching through Acts 5:1-11 and the story of Ananias and Sapphira. I've entitled the message, "Removing the Mask of Hypocrisy."

I have been challenged and blessed by this Bible text. Luke wants us to understand just how serious God takes hypocrisy. It is easy to try to wear a mask and hide our struggles, battles, and temptations.

Sometimes when people are struggling they isolate themselves because of the guilt they feel, or maybe they feel shameful, or maybe they don’t want to be a burden.

As a pastor, I often find myself wrestling with the dilemma of what I should do. Should I step in? Should I “intrude” and offer my assistance, even though uninvited?

Or should I stay out of the way and let the individuals involved work through the problem themselves? There are no hard and fast rules. I’ve done both…and had both backfire! I have also had both result in a wonderful time of reconciliation and growth. In my head I can still hear both extremes:

“Pastor, what business is this of yours? If you had stayed out of it, we could have worked things out. You only made it worse.”

And then I’ve heard : “Thank you Pastor. Thank you! Had you not stepped in and cared enough to comfort, (or confront or listen – whatever), who knows where we’d be today?”

But I have also heard: “We appreciate the fact that you gave us room to work through the conflict. Thank you for not pushing your way in and forcing the issue.”

And then I’ve heard: “Where were you? Why didn’t you make yourself available? Obviously, you didn’t care even though you knew we were hurting!”

I tell you, sometimes it is enough to make me want to go back in the Navy full-time!

But the hope you and I have is not in each other to fix our problems, but our hope is in the Lord. We can help each other see our circumstances from God's perspective and realize how sufficient and satisfying God truly is.

If we want to help each other know Him and reflect His character, then we need to trust God and let down our guard and be open and honest with our struggles, our battles, our conflict, and our temptations.