I know it’s true, because Jesus said so.
And yet, the sad reality is that this truth is one I need to continually be preaching to myself and my foolish heart.
This morning as I was reading through a portion of Luke’s gospel I came across these verses:
In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
I take this to be showing me that hypocrisy is dumb. Here’s why:
- It’s dumb to try to keep your sin secret when nothing’s going to stay secret forever. When we hide things we’re hiding them from men because we want to impress (we’re afraid of) men. But what we try to hide won’t remain hidden forever anyway. So even the things we can keep hidden for now won’t remain ‘our little secret’ for good. If you’re a Christian who’s tried to live in sin you know this to be true. Your sins will always find you out.
- It’s dumb to fear people when all they can do is kill you. That may seem like a big deal, but think about it. For those of us who have access to computers and the internet, the chances of actually being martyred for our faith are pretty ridiculously small. But even if it were a real and pressing danger (as it was for the man speaking these words), so what? It’s not like you weren’t going to die anyway. If you fear men, you’ll die one way or another and then you’ll be out of their reach. But there’s something way worse than death, and that’s hell. Jesus won’t settle with people being wishy-washy with him. You either fear men or else you fear God. There’s no middle ground.
So which would you rather have? A little bit of comfort here and now in the presence of men–until they figure out who you really are and realize you’re a hypocrite–and then an eternity of torment in hell, or some persecution and hardship now, with a clean conscience and full assurance of an eternity of unimaginable joy to come?
You’re telling me it’s not dumb to be a hypocrite?