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Honesty: The Answer to Hypocrisy

April 22, 2014 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

The great puritan minster Thomas Adams once wrote that “Hypocrites are like pictures on a canvas, they show fairest at the farthest.” We’re all tempted to hold others at an arm’s length so that our flaws cannot be so clearly seen. We’re tempted to hide behind vague language and allusions to struggles, all the while giving the impression that we’ve got it all under control. Hypocrisy is a hazard of the Christian life. We want to be like Jesus, but so often we’re not. More and more we will grow to be like Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit, but we, our friends, and our see family all too often just how much room we have to grow. I have a friend who has in the past encouraged Christians to embrace the label of “hypocrite.” His argument goes something like this, “Everyone is a hypocrite, but Christians are really the only ones who admit their hypocrisy.”

If he’s right, and I think he is, then the answer to hypocrisy is honesty. Though we may need to be aware and the manner of our confessions, in the words of one confession of faith, “it is every man's duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins particularly.” This means openly and honestly confessing our sins as they really are. Sometimes it takes actually hearing what sins we have committed in our voice, to really be struck by the gravity of them. The Lord is pleased to use our honest confessions to help us begin to break away from hypocrisy.

It is my prayer that we would, by God’s grace, each fight against hypocrisy by leaning into honesty with God (he knows the truth anyway), with our brothers and sisters in Christ (they know the truth because the know their own hearts), and with our unbelieving friends and family (they know the truth too, and they need to see that you believe you have a need for Jesus). When we fight against hypocrisy by leaning into honesty, we take God at his word when he says in Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Brothers and sisters, our God is rich and mercy. Where there is need for mercy, he freely and generously gives it. When you embrace honesty you embrace mercy.

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