Beware the dangers of hypocrisy
I want to be liked. You probably do too. But there is a great danger when the longing to be liked drives us too much.
When the longing to be liked pulls on us too heavily, we end up doing whatever it will take to get people to like us.
I have been caught in this trap more often than I like to admit. I have laughed at jokes I am ashamed to have laughed at. I have exaggerated my achievements to impress others. I have compromised my convictions to fit in with others. I have put on masks that I thought would make me more likeable. I have hidden the truth about myself when I feared it would make others dislike me.
Such a yearning to be liked easily leads to hypocrisy, which poisons both the individual hypocrite and the reputation of Christ within the world.
The individual hypocrite: In his book, All Is Grace, Brennan Manning confesses, “The imposter is a fake version of yourself, and that’s exactly how I started living. I faked being happy when I was sad, I faked being excited when I was disappointed, I even faked being nice when inside I was really angry. I still looked and sounded like me, but I wasn’t me. I was a fake. I lived as an imposter of myself. But living as the imposter will do nothing but harm. Here’s a quick list of how the impostor functions:
- The imposter lives in fear.
- The imposter is consumed with a need for acceptance and approval.
- The imposter is codependent; in other words, out of touch with his or her own feelings.
- The impostor’s life is a herky-jerky existence of elation and depression. The impostor is what he or she does.
- The impostor demands to be noticed.
- The imposter cannot experience intimacy in any relationship.
- And last but not least, the impostor is a liar.” (p. 56-57)
Anne Morrow Lindberg adds, “The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.”
The reputation of Christ in the world: John Stott states, “Hypocrisy is hideous. What cancer is to the body, hypocrisy is to the church. It is a killing agent.”
Dick Sheppard points out, “The greatest handicap the Church has is the unsatisfactory lives of professing Christians”
When Christians live with authenticity, people are drawn to Christ. But when Christians live as hypocrites, people are repulsed.
No wonder Jesus speaks out so often against hypocrisy. He hates what it does to us, and He hates what it does to those whom He is trying to reach.