This morning I got up and decided to change the color of our undercounter lights. They are LED lights so their color can be changed easily with the push of a button. I changed them to purple which is my favorite color. When I went to make coffee and realized I could hardly see the red fill mark on the side of the coffee maker. The distorted light had made it hard to see. That got me thinking about the effect of distorted light on our society, nations and homes.
A couple weeks ago, I heard a Bible teacher whom I appreciate very much say that he did not know why God treated Ananias and Sapphira so severely. That was a question that I have had, and I believe the reason is that God was moving in the New Testament church. It was in its infant stages, and it was being persecuted by the Jews. In the end of Acts 4 we see that the church was being sustained by believers sharing what they had. Along comes Ananias and Sapphira, they were not commanded to sell anything or to give anything. The problem was they wanted to be seen as great givers but were not. That led them to lie to the Holy Spirit. The reason for their severe punishment is that hypocrisy was raising its head in the New Testament church and needed to be dealt with in order for the church to survive.
What is hypocrisy? It is not being carnal or immature. It is the attempt to be seen as being spiritual. Spirituality is not something we put on to cover our lack of spirituality. Spirituality comes as we submit ourselves to God and His Word. It comes as we follow the Holy Spirit in every area as He points out our lack. Spirituality is an honest admittance of our need for Jesus, His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is not a show! It is real, solid and consistent. So much of what is called spirituality has drained the life out of the church and has made little to no effect on society. The New Testament church of Acts 4 was changing society. It was growing not only in numbers but in influence. Hypocrisy would have hindered that growth.
Here are some ways that hypocrisy hinders progress. Hypocrisy in a believer’s life keeps them from change. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB95) Without a confession of sin, the believer is kept in the bondage of sin. To confess simply means to agree with God that what we did was sin. When we do that, immediately we are free, cleansed from the effects of that sin. Hypocrisy was the first result of sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve attempted to cover their nakedness and then attempted to hide from God instead of running to Him so He could cover them. Ananias and Sapphira would have lived a great life if they would have just honesty presented themselves and their offering to Peter.
Hypocrisy has an effect on those around us. It destroys trust. When a dentist says, this won’t hurt it causes me to not trust anything he says from that point, but when he says here comes the poke, he is warning me. It still hurts but those words cause me to trust him. In over 45 years of ministry, I have seen churches and ministries destroyed because of lack of trust. I have seen marriages and families destroyed because trust was destroyed by hypocrisy. Our own nation and many other nations are being or have been destroyed because of the hypocrisy in leadership. There are people who refuse to trust God because of the hypocrisy they have seen. That is not an excuse, because God’s faithfulness is far greater than a person’s hypocrisy. But it is a hinderance to their trust.
Another thing that hypocrisy does is it distorts the truth and causes confusion. There are so many people asking these questions - what is real, what is truth, is there such a thing as absolute truth? One of the main reasons for these questions is that they are seeing conflicting evidence. Since the beginning of time, mankind has struggled with these questions. Hypocrisy does not deny the truth. That is another subject. Hypocrisy distorts the truth. Distorted truth causes confusion because it changes according to the situation. When truth becomes situational it creates confusion. As believers, we must speak and live the truth no matter what the situation.
The solution to hypocrisy is simple to understand. It is honesty. Just be honest with yourself first of all. That honesty will lead to confession which leads to deliverance. Be honest with people. If you have hurt them, stop making excuses and be honest with them. It is the only way to bring back trust and a restored relationship.
One of the things the world needs is honesty. Hypocrisy is destroying families, businesses and nations. The great challenge of our lives is to live like Jesus in all honesty. This will stop hypocrisy and the world will see Jesus as a true Savior and Redeemer.