What is a Hypocrite?

indexJesus said, “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others” (Matt. 6:2). We ask the question, what is a hypocrite? The word, “hypocrite” (hupokrites), literally means, “playactor,” “pretender.” (Gingrich). What is an actor? An actor is someone who projects in front of people a persona that is not his own persona. These hypocrites are actors, drama kings and queens, giving to the poor to get the praise of people.

Now there are politicians who are hypocrites. There are church people who are hypocrites. There are even pastors who are hypocrites.

Who are these hypocrites in Matthew? Jesus said, quoting Isa. 29:13, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me’” (Matt. 15:8). They are people who worship God with their lips, but their heart is not devoted to God. In Matthew 23, the hypocrites are the Pharisees. They are religious people who love to show off their religiosity, but deep inside, their hearts crave for the praise of people.

I read about five Jewish drug dealers from Brooklyn, New York. They sent a text message to their customers that they will not sell drugs on the Sabbath day. They sold heroin and cocaine on weekdays, but not on the Sabbath.[1]

It’s like some Muslims in Cebu who sell X-rated DVDs. I heard that somebody asked a Muslim if selling X-rated DVDs is not against their religion. The Muslim replied that it’s just business.

Every Sunday, religious leaders stand before people in church. Then you read in the papers how some are pedophiles and fathers of illegitimate children. They claim the vow of poverty. But you see them eating good food, living in air-con rooms, riding in cars, and living the good life.

Where do the hypocrites sound the trumpets? They sound their trumpets in the synagogues and in the streets—in public places, where people can see them.

Why do they do it? Jesus said, that they may be praised by others. They seek self-praise, self-glory, and self-honor.

Jesus said, don’t follow the hypocrites. When you give to the poor, don’t sound trumpets like them. They give to the poor in public places, to be seen by people. They give to the poor to get the praise of people.

[1] Erik Badia and Tina Moore, “Group of observant Brooklyn drug dealers told customers they were closed for Shabbat: authorities.” Cited August 16, 2014. Online: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/observant-brooklyn-drug-dealers-closed-shabbat-article-1.1450976

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s