Yesterday the UK Health Secretary resigned under shouts of hypocrisy. There are many more in every sphere of society and even in religious circles that don’t even think of resigning. Within the Church we have our own problems with hypocrisy. Amazing gifts and charismatic abilities to soften the most hardened of crowds can mask a desire to perform and gain. Softly-spoken and carrying an atmosphere of pious dignity can mask the raging anger within the heart of men and women in the pulpit and pew.
“Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15 v 10-11)
These Pharisees who outspokenly challenged Jesus over his disciples not washing their hands and so making themselves unclean have not only deceived themselves but others too. So Jesus brings the crowd together to tell them that failure to follow these traditions will not actually make you unclean but it is all about the heart. The Pharisees question was actually an attempt to stop the ministry of Jesus. It had nothing to do with protecting devotion to God and being holy before Him. That is the hypocrisy that Jesus points out. When the reason is veiled and attention is drawn to something which may be real but is used to keep it hidden, that is hypocrisy.
It’s what comes out that counts.
It’s the words we use. The way we speak to others and about them.
It’s the motivation and the reason behind the actions.
Of course, whenever we speak of this kind of thing, offence is never far away. As we shall see …