Sunday, April 13, 2014


“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” -Matt. 23:27 The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word hypokritḗs. It literally means “a judging under,” like a performer acting under a mask (i.e. a theater-actor). It figuratively means a two-faced person; a "hypocrite," whose profession does not match their practice – i.e. someone who "says one thing but does another." It works well on the stage, but not so good in real life. Jesus condemned the hypocrites and today, we don’t like anyone who is “two-faced” either. We prefer someone who is genuine. The recipe for being genuine hasn’t changed much over the years. It calls for a willingness to be real and honest. It requires us to reveal ourselves with all our strengths, weaknesses and faults. Most people aren’t secure enough to display who they really are. But when who we are matches what we are, life is lived in true freedom. Otherwise, we have to wear masks. The masks cover up that part of us that we don’t want others to see. Someone told me the other day that, as a salesman, “It’s absolutely a necessity that I always be at the top of my game when I’m with clients. I can’t be having a tough day. I have to be positive and perfect to make the sale.” Most of us begin our days with that dilemma. We wake sometimes with hearts clogged with issues- unresolved relationship issues, past hurts and misgivings, or fear of the future. The day begins and our personality splits between who we want to be and who we are. Thankfully, God has provided an integrity plan. 1 John 1:9 outlines the phenomenal system designed by God to keep our hearts clean and who we are matching what we are. It’s called forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Our awesome God forgives us and our hearts are cleansed. If we accept Jesus as our Savior, no masks are required. We are children of God, broken and humble and able to live lives of integrity. In Christ, we obtain the security to live honest lives, where our inside and outsides match. We don’t have to be hypocrites. We don’t have to wear the masks. We can be genuine. What we say can match what we do. But sometimes Christians practice mask-wearing more than non-Christians. Kenneth Wuest said, "Christianity requires that believers should be open and above-board. They should be themselves. Their lives should be like an open book, easily read." That’s the catch with being a Christian. We have admitted and confessed our need for a loving God. Through brokenness and humility, we have seen the need for Jesus to mend our broken hearts, but we have to live in the reality of the control of the Lord in our lives. Otherwise, the drama begins. The curtain rises on our day, we put on our mask, and the disparity begins. Who we are doesn’t match what we believe. We don’t have to “fake it till we make it” because we’ve already made it. We don’t have to be someone we are not- wealthier, prettier, or stronger- we are simply children of God. And that is enough. What you see is what you get. In his classic The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” No mask is necessary when we are children of the living God. May our security be found only in Jesus and His power and might. May we shed the masks and reveal only one true face… …conforming to the image of Christ. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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