Hypocrisy, to me, is just and ugly word. It’s one of those words that I’ve heard all my life and just knew that I didn’t want anyone to label me that way. Our passage today deals with it so, being a little bit of a “word nerd”, I decided to look up the definition.
Hypocrisy: a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc. that one does not really possess.
Here’s what Paul had to say about it in Galatians 2:11-13:
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Looking closely at the passage Paul tells us that he opposed Cephas “to his face”. No hypocrisy there. Paul didn’t gasp at what he saw and then run talk to James or Barnabas about Cephas. Paul didn’t like Cephas’ actions and he told him so. I feel certain he did so with the love and grace of Christ – just a side thought.
So what was he (Cephas) doing? He was eating with the Gentiles. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? It wouldn’t be to you and me, but the Jews probably didn’t think too much of that. So, when the Jews came along, Cephas separated himself from the Gentiles. He acted hypocritically. He was trying to please an audience. Going back to Galatians 1:10 – he was trying to please man instead of God.
Do I do that? I know I do. Mind you it’s not intentional but I am sure that I am guilty.
Since I looked up the dictionary definition, I decided that I also wanted to see what God had to say about hypocrisy. I searched God’s Word to see if it was used anywhere else and found that the word hypocrisy is used 5 times in Scripture. Two (2) of those times, in the NIV version, are in Galatians 2:13.
I heard someone say once that if it’s in the Bible, God cares about it. If it’s in there more than once, you better listen because it’s really important to Him. I think that hypocrisy is important to Him. We’re called to be genuine in all our actions and attitudes.
That is my prayer, to be genuine in my actions and attitudes….to avoid hypocrisy in my own life.
Until tomorrow……Joy to You!