Bible Reading: Luke 12:1-3
Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—beware of their hypocrisy. Luke 12:1
Quiz time. Vote for the behavior that you think makes God shout, “Wa-hoo!”
(a) Every Sunday on the way to church you have a slugfest in the backseat. But when you and your siblings arrive, you act all huggy-kissy.
(b) You cuss and scream with your baseball buddies. But when your Christian friends show up to watch the game, you cut out the swearing.
(c) You agree to never smoke, drink, or do drugs. But you light up when you think God or your Sunday school teacher can’t spot you.
Whoops. None of those behaviors wins a round of applause from God. In fact, if that phony behavior becomes a habit, it’s called “hypocrisy.” From the way Jesus talked, we know that hypocrisy is an awful thing. It’s pretending to be better than we are—like bragging that we’re totally good when we’re terribly bad.
The “hypocrite” label that Jesus flung at the Pharisees comes from a Greek word that means “playacting.” It first referred to Greek actors, who were famous for their masks. The Pharisees were the Bible’s Oscar-winning hypocrites. They looked religious in front of people, but they were playacting. Their relationship with God was fake.
So what is God looking for? The opposite of a mask. This is what he expects from us: WYSIWYG—what you see is what you get. “Transparent” is a good word for what he wants. We can see through transparent people like glass. They show a completely honest face to themselves, to others, and to God.
God doesn’t expect us to show our worst side to the whole world. But he also doesn’t think it’s cool to show off our scrubbed-up outside when our inside is still a mess. He wants us to clean up what we’re really like inside so our goodness will last longer than Sunday school.
All of us do bad things—we sin. But the answer is not found in hiding behind a mask. It’s found in being transparent—admitting to God and our Christian brothers and sisters that we’re less than perfect and need forgiveness.
Is that easier said than done? Yes. But taking off the mask is the only way you allow God to work in your life. And it’s the only way people can get to know and love the real you!
TALK: Have you ever hidden behind a mask? How does that hurt you? Others?
PRAY: God, help us let you clean us up on the inside. We don’t want to keep hiding wrongdoings behind a mask. Please help us to become transparent.
ACT: Take some time alone with God today to talk to him about any areas where you might be feeling like a fake.