“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
One of the main detractors in Jesus’ ministry were the Pharisees. They were a very religious people, but they were also very hypocritical. One of the last dialogues Jesus had with them before He was crucified is found in Matthew 23. In this chapter, Jesus held nothing back when he described who they were and their motives. This last sermon that He preached is what eventually led to His crucifixion.
However, the hypocritical mindset of these people is revealed in this chapter. There is no doubt that most Christians disdain the thought of being hypocritical, but what I have found is many times we all can take on the hypocritical mindset. Jesus describes four mindsets that lead to a hypocritical mindset.
First, all of God’s commands are important. The verse above says that the Pharisees “omitted the weightier matters of the law…” Jesus is making it clear that all of His commands are important to being a good Christian. You are on the fast track to being a hypocrite if you categorize God’s commands as relevant and irrelevant. God didn’t give us commands so that we would only obey part of them; no, He gave us His commands so that we would obey ALL of them. For instance, if you deem the Old Testament commands as out-of-date, you will find yourself becoming a hypocrite. Yes, the ceremonial laws were done away with at Calvary, but every law in the Scriptures are important to being the Christian you are supposed to be.
Second, selective choice leads to a pharisaical attitude. The Pharisees picked what part of the law they wanted to obey, which led to their mindset. You can’t pick and choose what you want to obey because you are to obey all of God’s commands. God’s commands are not a smorgasbord to obey the ones you like and avoid the ones you dislike. God’s commands are not user based; instead, all of God’s commands are to be obeyed.
Third, the outside does make an impact. Jesus didn’t deride the Pharisees for their outside cleanliness, but He derided them for not being as concerned for the inside as they were for the outside. A hypocritical mindset will be acquired when you think that your outside is not important. My friend, people can’t see what is going on inside of you; they can only see the outside. When you proclaim you are something, but your outside doesn’t match what you proclaim, you will be deemed a hypocrite.
Fourth, the inside is as important as the outside. For those who only focus on the outside, let me make it clear that Jesus was also concerned with the filth of the inside. You can shine the outside to impress people, but you better be sure that the inside matches or the stench of sin will come out. To clean the outside and not the inside is hypocritical and damaging to the testimony of all Christians.
Christian, be careful that you don’t acquire the hypocritical mindset. If you make all of God’s commands important, you will find you will also be concerned with being clean inside and out. Be careful to never let the hypocritical mindset take hold of your life.