Scripture: Luke 11:19
Key Verse: “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges.”
Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another. What I learned on the journey is that the real danger of the hypocrisy exposed in our text is that through our duplicitous words and actions we are unleashing condemnation on ourselves unnecessarily. The truth is that God has covered a lot of our sins and faults, but when we act like we have not done the same and worse things that we are condemning others for, we are simply setting ourselves up for our hypocrisy to be judged! And what makes it even worse, is who the text says will do the judging.
We all fall subject in the moment or season to saying and feeling one way and then times and situations change where it makes it difficult to honor past obligations and promises or things just simply change and what we said we either can no longer do or just simply do not want to do.
This first lesson is connected to others throughout the journey, but just as I was guilty of making quick unthought out decisions, I think the same kind of decisions were made about me by others. This is the difference, when I recognized what I had done, I did everything in my power and even at great personal sacrifice and expense to do the right and honorable thing to mitigate the impact on others for the decisions I had made. I know that a major part of the reason I did this was because I knew and continue to know what it feels like to be on the receiving side of people who grew cold and ambivalent about your presence. Here is the point, we all make mistakes, but it’s what you do after that recognition that makes the difference, especially when people’s actual lives are involved.
I will be the first to confess and admit that I have been far from perfect, but what I have always tried to do was treat people with decency and respect because that’s how I was raised and I believe that is what God honors. Many of my sins and mistakes have been covered because I tried my best to be honest and honorable throughout the process, even if others didn’t do the same.
The second lesson from this journey was that when I make statements and decisions that possibly I haven’t thought all the way out or even in the reality of life where situations, context, and circumstances change it was essential that I did not slip into the carnal and natural tendency to become like the “some” and “others” of our story who were committing self-condemning acts of hypocrisy. Notice how Jesus asks, “by whom do your sons cast them out?” The symbolism here is abundant.
It is safe to assume that the ones who levied this attack on Jesus were religious leaders and temple administrators who were threatened by and uncomfortable with the ministry of Jesus. In the culture and time of Jesus, the sons referenced by Jesus fell into a few different categories: natural sons, spiritual sons, and the sons for whom they provided leadership. In our modern context this would necessarily include their daughters as well. So now consider what the full import when Jesus says that they will be judged by their own sons (and daughters).
I found that most of the drama, mess, and hypocrisy that happens in the church starts with the leadership. Most of the laity and flock don’t even know all of the hypocrisy, shadiness, jockeying, and double dealing happening behind the scenes. The most hurtful attacks in my life have come from religious leaders in various capacities. What the religious leaders did not know is that everyone was watching and listening and by their own words, actions, and decisions to oppose what God was doing through Jesus they were doing nothing but hurting themselves by destroying their own credibility, chipping away that their own authority, and causing everyone watching to question if they were really called by God to lead. In the end, God began to show me that the way you handle people and situations is the way people and situations will handle you when the tables turn, because God is sovereign and just. And although God is patient and longsuffering, he repays all evil in due time.
God told me to just to keep doing the right thing and treating everyone the way I wanted to be treated. That didn’t mean gloss over the difficult reality of some situations and just go along to get along, but follow the golden rule, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This was a hard lesson, especially when you have mountains of evidence, documentation, and inside information that you want to make public, but God just kept telling me—be cool, I got it! I can remember driving down the street and felt the tears begin to once again well up in my eyes as God began to show me the self-condemning hypocrisy of every critique that had been levied against me. But on this final occasion I knew God was working on me and had delivered me from my former feelings of anger and frustration that controlled me, because my tears this time were not for me, but for those who would have to pay for their self-condemning hypocrisy and the innocent sons and daughters lives that would be negatively impacted.
The final revelation God showed me was a real gut check as I meditated on the question of Jesus, “by whom do your sons cast them out?”. My life has been a roller coaster when it comes to confidence. I usually either had very little to no confidence, or I had enough for me and a few other people at the same time. On the journey, what I began to pursue was a healthy balance of Godly confidence and humility. I can be confident because everything I am and I have come from God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time I must be humble for the same reasons. You’ve heard me say this a few times already but make it all about God and watch yourself begin to strike the appropriate balance too. Jesus was saying that there are always others who are doing the work of building the Kingdom of God and tearing down the Kingdom of Satan. But if we are not careful, we can slip into the cynical state of Elijah who after his triumph on Mount Carmel where fire rained down from heaven, as we mentioned in Day 30, began to think he was the only one truly standing for the Lord. But God reminded him, I have reserved 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed to Baal. You are not alone!
In the end it serves us to correct mistakes quickly, honorably, and honestly and avoid self-condemning hypocrisy so that when the flood of justice rolls in we are not swept up in the waves and carried away.
CPR Kit for the Soul:
Centering Theme: Center yourself and meditate on areas where we may be guilty of self-condemning hypocrisy
Prayer Topic: Deliverance from feelings of ill-will toward those who you felt have done you wrong in the past
Reflection Thought: If Jesus could pray for those who crucified Him, how much the more should we pray
T3 Prayer Booster:
- Father God, guard my heart against the snare of self-condemning hypocrisy to mask my own faults, failures, and insecurities about the decisions I made
- Lord, reveal the areas of my life where I may be heaping coals on my own head through judgement of others
- Lord, thank you that I am not in this alone and that there is an entire Kingdom of believers doing your work