‘What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.’ Matt. 23:13.

Being a religious leader in Jerusalem was very different from being a pastor in a secular society today. Israel’s history, culture, and daily life centred around its relationship with God. the religious leaders were the best known, most powerful, and most respected of all leaders. Jesus made these stinging accusations because the leaders’ hunger for more power, money, and status had made them lose sight of God, and their blindness was spreading to the whole nation.

More than seven times in this passage Jesus hit hard against the religious leaders who were hypocrites for not living out what they preached. The term hypocrite is from the Greek word that means “play-actor.” It means we pretend to be something we are not. Sometimes we forget or conceal our true identity as believers in Jesus. We forget that we are accountable to God. When we do that, we live the way we “once walked” (Eph. 2:2) and thus are hypocrites.

It is been suggested that we should not allow our old ways act like someone we are not. Instead, through God’s grace, let us live in a way that shows we are “alive together with Christ”. That is a sure cure for hypocrisy.

People of God, we really need to be consistent in our behavioural tendencies in order not to give the devil a loop hole to accuse or stain our relationship with our maker. Some Christians have been accused of not been too straightforward in their dealings partly because they are not consistently consistent. What did the Bible say ‘let your Yes be Yes and your No be No’. It is only in this respect that we can silence the devil and his cohorts. It is true the devil is the accuser of the brethrens but in a manner of speaking we should not put ourselves in a precarious situation as to give him room to accuse us at all. And that is why we must insist on consistency.

Consistency! How much we need to walk a measured pace, to live the life of which we speak, until we see Christ’s face. I think this should be the desire of any and every genuine Christian not to go the way of the hypocrites or the play-actor who conceals its motives and intentions to the detriment of his faith. Let us not be carried away by the number that fills our pews every Sunday. Some are not genuine representative of Christ out there in the secular not to talk of the religious circle. To them the words of Jesus should still come afresh: ‘What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites!…’ Damning as it is, yet, it is true for all who tow this condemnable behaviour we still receive a hard bashing from the Lord of life.

Therefore, it is time we re-examine ourselves and our relationship with God our maker. Are we really what we claim to be? Yes, in our offices, churches and homes. Do we keep a steady character? I know if we maintain a consistent behaviour the devil may not find grounds even to accuse us before the Lord our maker. May God’s grace be sufficient for us in this world of ‘push and pull.’

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.


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