‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS ,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME .”
Matthew 15:8, NASB
“Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” C.S. Lewis
This singular verse is set in a series of other verses– it certainly does not stand alone. When these come together, we realize how much the Holy Spirit despises hypocrisy. He hates it, I suppose, because of the destructiveness wreaked on our spirits.
A father or mother may feel a hatred at the dealers who sell the drugs to their child. It’s not that they have any special animosity toward the pusher, but rather, they love their son so much. They will do whatever it takes to protect him.
I really think this is what Jesus feels when it comes to the purveyors of religious legalism, or hypocrisy. He burns with a holy hatred against this particular form of darkness. His vehemence seems reserved, not for sin so much as these lies of “religious pretending”. His repeated “roughness” has to be considered– why?
This should jar us into what is real, and all that is not. The word for hypocrite is “two-faced”. It was used in the Greek theaters for the masks worn by the actors. They would wear whatever the script called for. The audience never knew what was real, and what was only theatrical props.
With our lips (speech) we will honor God. We’ll only speak good things, and words (and actions) become an issue of being appropriate. We put on the particular mask of the moment, and enter the theater. Our hearts are hardly touched, and the deepest part of us becomes inoculated to the real presence of God.
The deep hatred Jesus has is due to the enormity of this sin. It is spirituality gone bad. Twisted and confused, with the shallow veneer of “respectability”. It seems to work for many of us. When our discipleship gets used to wearing masks, things can get very religious.
One last thought. Ships and boats often have to go into dry dock to be scraped clean. Weeds and barnacles can actually cover the hulls; they can severely impede the ships function. Periodic inspection is needed. Jesus wants us to be truly clean.
“Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.”
- Barnacles (trust4god.wordpress.com)
- Mask (gertlush60.wordpress.com)
- Barnacle Goose (charleymckelvy.wordpress.com)
- Who Am I Trying to Impress? (resources.wcrossing.org)