The word hypocrisy means basically to pretend or to play a part; it is acting something out. In ancient days it meant to put on a mask so as to appear differently to others. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was hypocrisy (Acts 5:1-3). Outwardly they wanted to appear as charitable as the others, but inwardly they were lying to God the Holy Spirit. When we are dishonest before the Lord, but at the same time “putting on an act” before the body of Christ, that is hypocrisy.
To avoid hypocrisy we need to have an “honest and good heart”. Rather than cover up our sins, we confess them to God, and if need be to others, and by the grace of God repent. How vital that we be transparent with one another and of course with our Lord Jesus. To live in hypocrisy is to be living in denial of the truth. We must walk in honesty, thus putting on Christ who is “the Truth”. Ananias and Sapphira held back the truth under the disguise of total surrender about the true value of the land they sold. They could have avoided the severe judgment of the Lord if they had simply been honest about the situation.
Honesty prevents hypocrisy. We are told to think about things that are honest. Do we “stretch” the truth when we share with others? Do we add a little “pizzaz” so as to sound holier than we are? That’s both a lie and hypocrisy and must be confessed as sin.
Part of our prayer life is to be directed for those in authority that we might live in honesty. An honest way of living is a key to effective evangelism. Are you willing to live honestly? Is the “real you” someone else when you are away from the crowd at church? Speaking lies in hypocrisy is devilish and in opposition to the wisdom from above, which is without hypocrisy.
May the Spirit of God lead us into the truth and full disclosure of the leaven of hypocrisy in our hearts today. We can’t grow when in denial, neither can we have true fellowship in the Spirit apart from honesty. Lord, search me today.
You need not fear honesty, only hypocrisy.