Handling Hypocritical People – How many believe you know someone who could be, at times, a hypocrite? No pointing please! Now, how many of us are mature enough to admit openly by the raising of hands that we have been a hypocrite? Well, no matter if you raised your hand or not, all of us can be a hypocrite. So how do we handle hypocritical people even when we are the hypocritical people.
HANDLING DIFFICULT PEOPLE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Handling Hypocritical People
Handling Hypocritical People
Scriptures: Matthew 23:23-24; Matthew 23:28; 2 Samuel 12:5-7; 2 Samuel 12:14; Galatians 6:1, 2
Today we will be looking at HANDLING HYPOCRITICAL PEOPLE. How many believe you know someone who could be, at times, a hypocrite? No pointing please! Now, how many of us are mature enough to admit openly by the raising of hands that we have been a hypocrite? Well, no matter if you raised your hand or not, all of us can be a hypocrite. At the least, you talked about someone when you knew you should not. You said or did something that you knew you, as a Christian, should not have said or done. You heard about the guy who said he would not go to church because of all the hypocrites that go. Well, when you talk to that guy, tell him to come on anyway because there is always room for one more.
As in the other lessons – critical people, overly needy people, and manipulative people, we are all guilty to an extent. However, we are not all guilty of being constantly and majorly critical, needy, and manipulative people. We are not all guilty of being “belligerent hypocrites.” This is necessary to understand when HANDLING HYPOCRITICAL PEOPLE. I will attempt to show you what I mean.
Matthew 23:23-24 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you IGNORE THE IMPORTANT THINGS of the law – justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not LEAVE UNDONE THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS. Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat; then you swallow a camel!
Notice Jesus is speaking to people who say they are in relationship with the Lord. These are teachers who knew better. He said you should do the basics like tithing, but there are at least equally, if not more IMPORTANT THINGS. Jesus said hypocritical people will strain out a tiny gnat that really does not matter, but miss big things like a hairy camel that really do matter! Jesus confronted the hypocrites who majored on tiny things, but blow it on big things. Jesus MAJORED ON THE MAJORS when confronting hypocrisy.
The first thing we need to realize in HANDLING HYPOCRITICAL PEOPLE is to (1) ONLY CONFRONT MAJORS. Jesus did not major on the gnats. He majored on the camels. That is why I used the term “belligerent hypocrites.” One of the biggest problems today with Christians is we nitpick. We talk about other Christians and people concerning things that really do not matter. For example, here are a few things people said about us here at Life Gate Church. They said things like, “You let people come to church dressed any way they want. People should dress their best to come to church.” I want to ask, “How do you know it is not their best? And, anyway, I thought God looked at the heart, not the outward appearance and what does that matter anyway?” Another complaint is our music. I remember a message on my answering machine once saying our music was of the devil because we use drums and guitars. I thought the Bible said to praise the Lord in the sanctuary with stringed instruments, the psaltery (drums), cymbals (Psa 150). Of course, that is not the issue it used to be because many of them have passed us. People criticize me for using different translations. I had a woman once tell me that only the King James’ Version was the Bible. I asked her if that was the translation Jesus used assuming I would make her think. However, to my surprise, she said yes it was the version Jesus used. Honestly, she said that! I cackled in disbelief.
My point is Jesus confronted hypocrisy and hypocritical people, but it was about MAJOR ISSUES. Jesus did not talk about the clothes people wore to worship, or the music, or the instruments, or the translation of the Bible. What did Jesus confront? He confronted major issues like not correctly teaching the kingdom of God by teaching it futuristically, which stopped people from entering it now (Mat 23:13). He confronted the taking of a convert and giving him or her false teaching, which made them a son or daughter of hell (Mat 23:15). He confronted looking religious on the outside, but being full of greed, self-indulgence, and death on the inside (Mat 23:25).
Matthew 23:28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are FULL OF HYPOCRISY and wickedness.
Jesus confronted those who persecuted the men and women of God (Mat 23: 29). Jesus did not strain out gnats and swallow camels. He MAJORED ON MAJORS. That is exactly what we should do.
(2) ONLY CONFRONT THOSE WHO GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO DESPISE AND BLASPHEME THE LORD. How does a person know if a person’s hypocrisy is MAJOR and needs confronting? As in the other lessons on HANDLING DIFFICULT PEOPLE, finding hypocritical people in the Bible is not difficult. Remember Noah getting sloppy drunk and passing out in his tent (Gen 9:21). How about Abraham and Hagar? How about Lot’s incest with his daughters? Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and was a polygamist. How about Judah who visited a prostitute who was actually his daughter-in-law and she became pregnant by him? There was Samson and his problems. In the New Testament, the great apostle Peter denied the Lord three times and used profanities. There is a man mentioned who attended church and was having sexual relations with his father’s wife (1Co 5:1). The truth of the matter is if the Bible gives enough information about anyone, we can find something hypocritical. Interestingly, some of those hypocrisies God dealt with and with some, he did not. Why was that? Let me make this clear. (3) EVERY HYPOCRISY HAS BUILT IN CONSEQUENCES, but all hypocrisy and hypocritical people are not confronted. Consequences will confront the hypocrisy. For example, the Lord never confronted Samson’s hypocrisy with Delilah, but goodness, what consequences that hypocrisy brought.
The Bible tells in detail the story of a revered “royal hypocrite.” That sounds strange doesn’t it? Once, the royal King David stayed in his palace instead of leading his army in war. One night David was walking on his roof when he saw a beautiful, married woman bathing named Bathsheba. Her husband, Uriah, was at war with David’s army. David sent for Bathsheba, she responded, and they slept together. Bathsheba became pregnant with David’s child. David sent for Uriah with the intention of Uriah having physical relations with his wife and believing that he caused Bathsheba’s pregnancy. However, Uriah would not sleep with his wife, saying that it would not be right for other men to be at battle while he was having pleasure. David devised a plan for the enemy to kill Uriah in battle and Uriah died. David then added Bathsheba to his harem of wives. It seemed the cover up worked.
Would you say that David was a hypocrite? David was supposedly God’s anointed man. He wrote psalms about loving and serving God. He brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. He gave sacrifices and offerings. He publicly danced and praised the Lord with all his might. David planned the Temple, etc. But, he took another man’s wife and had that man killed – a man who honored David as king by fighting in David’s army. It seemed David got away with it, but all hypocrisy has consequences.
Bathsheba gave birth to David’s baby. The Bible says that the Lord was very displeased by what David did (2Sa 11:27). The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront David’s hypocrisy. Nathan was to tell David a story. It was about a rich man who owned herds of sheep and cattle and a poor man who worked hard to have one little lamb. The poor man raised the little lamb and loved it. One day, the rich man had a guest. Instead of killing one of his many sheep for a feast, he took the poor man’s one little lamb and killed it. Here is David’s reaction to Nathan’s story.
2 Samuel 12:5-7 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “YOU ARE THAT MAN!”
Isn’t it amazing how we can judge the hypocrisy of others while hiding our own? Because of the consequences of David’s hypocrisy, he went through years of trouble and that hypocrisy haunted David the remainder of his days. I know great men and women of God today suffering from hypocrisy committed years ago. One of the saddest consequences of David’s hypocrisy was the effect it had on his family.
2 Samuel 12:14 But you have given the enemies of the LORD GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO DESPISE AND BLASPHEME HIM, so your child will die.
It is sad, but most often a person’s family suffers the consequences of hypocrisy. Belligerent HYPOCRISY GIVES PEOPLE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO DESPISE AND BLASPHEME THE LORD. We all come into contact with belligerent hypocrites who give people great opportunity to despise and blaspheme the Lord. For you, it might be the person at work, who says he or she is a Christ follower. Yet he or she cusses every other word, flirts with every woman/man, and steals from work. It might be the student at your school, who is a leader of a youth group, but cheats on tests, boozes up on weekends, rebels against his or her parents, and does a little pot on the side. Or, maybe it is that preacher who says “Praise the Lord, Hallelujah” and tells people they are going to hell for sins, but goes home and verbally, or physically abuses his family, and has porn magazines in his desk drawer. It could be Mrs. Church Goer. She carries a bible the size of a Volkswagen. She speaks in tongues and gives prophecies, but then picks a person apart with criticism as she spends hours on the phone gossiping about everyone in town.
How are we to HANDLE HYPOCRITES? (1) ONLY CONFRONT MAJORS; (2) ONLY CONFRONT THOSE WHO GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO DESPISE AND BLASPHEME THE LORD; (3) REALIZE EVERY HYPOCRISY HAS BUILT IN CONSEQUENCES: (4) BE CAREFUL.
Galatians 6:1, 2 Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is OVERCOME by some sin, you who are godly shouldGENTLY AND HUMBLY help that person back onto the right path. And BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL INTO THE SAME TEMPTATION YOURSELF. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Paul said if that person is OVERCOME by some sin – MAJOR. We would say the person is a hypocrite. Paul said BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL YOURSELF. Treat it GENTLY AND HUMBLY. Isn’t that interesting? Have you ever noticed that people who judge others are frequently found doing the same or worse thing? I remember years back how a very well know preacher was instrumental in confronting and uncovering another preacher’s sin. However, the story did not end there. Only a few months later, the preacher who did the uncovering was himself uncovered for not only doing the same sin, but something much worse. I could go on and on with things like this, but I am very cautious not to judge. I am attempting to get you to see the importance of this. You see, the thing we microscope others doing will cause us to be placed under the microscope. It’s built in. It’s the way it works. When we confront someone, we become unusually vulnerable to the same thing ourselves. If your heart is not right, the hypocrisy will come upon you. The scripture said “gently and humbly help that person.” In other words, make certain that your own heart is pure and that you have the correct motive to help the person, not judge the person. BE CAREFUL!
Paul gave us a gauge to know if your heart is pure and you are not simply judging. Will I commit to help that person back onto the right path? Will I commit myself to give the necessary time or money to help? Am I willing to share each other’s troubles and problems with this person? Most often, our confronting hypocrisy is with condemnation, pride, “I am better than you,” or “ha, ha, gotcha.” You best never do that. It is only by my willingness to commit to help the person that I fulfill the law of Christ, i.e. do what a Christian does. If I am not, then I am only being a hypocrite myself if I confront that person’s hypocrisy. If you are not willing to do that, shut your mouth and leave them alone. If you do not shut your mouth, the same thing, or something worse, will come on you “King David.”
Are there hypocrites in church? Oh yes, many of them just like the Bible has many of them. However, the church remains the greatest and most powerful life changing force on the earth. Is the church full of belligerent hypocrites? Oh no, but we do have some “royal” ones, exactly as the Bible does. How are we to HANDLE HYPOCRITICAL PEOPLE? (1) ONLY CONFRONT MAJORS; (2) ONLY CONFRONT THOSE WHO GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO DESPISE AND BLASPHEME THE LORD; (3) REALIZE EVERY HYPOCRISY HAS BUILT IN CONSEQUENCES: (4) BE CAREFUL. Make certain your heart is right – gentle and humble and that you are willing to commit to helping the person be back.
Maybe you are here today and have not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Maybe you have seen hypocrites and they gave you a reason to despise and blaspheme Christianity. If that is the case then you will never experience salvation. Jesus died so you could be forgiven of your sins. Today, you make a choice. You walk out the same way you walked in, or you walk out transformed by the power of the risen Christ. It’s up to you. Yes or no. No, you reject Him and go on with life without Him. Yes, you surrender to Him, and invite Him to be everything. As you do, you will never be the same. How many will say, “Yes, Jesus, I surrender. Forgive me. Be the Savior and the Lord of my life.” Those of you saying, “Yes,” lift your hands boldly right now.
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