One of the few times Jesus got aggressive was when he called out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
Matthew 6:2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do . . .”
James 3:17 tells us that “wisdom from above” is without hypocrisy (some versions translate the word as “sincere”).
To be clear, hypocrisy is the willingness to proclaim a standard for others that we don’t apply to ourselves. And to be extra clear, we all struggle with hypocrisy. As a youth pastor, I passionately taught the standard of sexual fidelity, but I gave in to the temptation of looking at pornography. That is a classic example of hypocrisy. Pretending like we aren’t guilty of hypocrisy is also a classic example of hypocrisy. Unfortunately, our world is saturated with both hypocrisy and rampant accusations of hypocrisy. We need less double standards and “ends justify the means” tactics, but the place to begin is with ourselves. It is useless to call out hypocrisy until we first purge it from our own life. As believers in Jesus, we have the glorious opportunity, with the eternal power of the Holy Spirit operating within us, to live an hypocrisy-free life! We have access to the “wisdom from above” that James talks about. We have access to the wonderful cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, and we have the opportunity through a humble, repentant lifestyle to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
I believe, with all my heart, that one of the key solutions to the craziness we are all experiencing in this time and season is the “wisdom from above” that James talks about. That means we desperately need a people that have purged hypocrisy from their own lives. Lord, I am sorry for all the times I have put a standard on others that I have not been able to live up to. Forgive me and transform me into an ambassador of your wisdom. So that I can be part of the solution for this time and season. Amen.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)