Today’s Reading Matthew 23:13-39 

We grow tired of people saying one thing and living something that’s completely opposite. According to the dictionary, a hypocrite is “a person who pretends to have beliefs or practices which he or she does not actually possess.” As used in the Bible, the term comes from ancient Greek theater, where one actor would often play two parts. When saying something humorous, he would hold up a mask with a smiley face; when playing a tragic part, he would hold up a mask with a sad face. A good actor could imitate the speech, mannerisms, and conduct of the character he was portraying. The word literally means, “One who hides behind a mask.”

There’s a difference between being a sinner and being a hypocrite. There’s an unspoken assumption that a Christian is someone who doesn’t sin. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it’s just the opposite. 1 John 1:8 puts it very clearly: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

A hypocrite, or one who wears a mask, claims to be free from faults. A Christian, on the other hand, freely admits the fact that he or she is a sinner. The next verse, 1 John 1:9 describes the difference between a hypocrite and an honest sinner: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

It’s not about being good. It’s about being forgiven. The Apostle Paul, knew who he was, in 1 Timothy 1:15 he wrote, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.”

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