Over the next few days we will be reading about the warnings of Jesus regarding hypocritical religious leaders who sadly are still around us today. But first a story!
A young man had just lost his job. Desperate for a job, he looked at the newspapers, and he found an opening in a zoo. He went for the interview and the interviewer said, “Oh! Tragically, a gorilla had just died in our zoo. It was the most popular exhibit and we needed to keep that going. So we need to hire someone, to play the role of a gorilla.”
The young man, desperate for a job, says, “Alright, I’ll take it up.” So he was dressed like a gorilla and it was an easy job. All he needed to do was to pretend to be a gorilla. Walk around like a gorilla, sleep like a gorilla, eat bananas like a gorilla. But after a while, that job got rather boring. You could imagine just doing that every single day.
So he, being a very fit young man, he’s a gymnast in the past, began to explore the enclosure and began to swing from tree to tree. And people were amazed at his athleticism. They thought, “Wow! This gorilla – very active!” And he was so excited. But one time, he lost his balance, lost his grip and he fell into the lion’s den. He was obviously in panic mode and so he began to scream, “Help! Help!” To which the lion walked up to him and said, “Shut up, you fool! Or we will both lose our jobs.”
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” (Matthew 23 v 13a)
Don’t be fooled, not everyone who appears to be something actually is!
A hypocrite is a person who purposely deceives others. They appear right, all the while they hide or deflect the reality of their wrongness. They deny the invitation of grace because they deny their own sinfulness to either themselves or their world. The moment we deflect our own wrong in order to expose the wrong in others is when we become a hypocrite.
A hypocrite only points fingers in one direction, away from their own heart.
So don’t be fooled, not every gorilla or lion that you meet today are the real deal.