Character is defined as the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person. A person’s reputation is established by their character. Character refers to the moral qualities and ethical standards that make up the inner nature of a person. Hypocrisy would thus be when the outward appearance in a person’s life does not accurately reflect their true inner nature. Character actors are experts at hypocrisy. Their very livelihood depends on their ability to portray a person so accurately so as to make people believe the character is real.
Character is who you are when no one else is around. Character reflects the true identity of a person. Character can either be good or bad, pleasing or repulsive, sterling or fake. Ultimately, only God knows the true identity of people for He looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance. People fool other people all the time by putting up facades, wearing masks and speaking and doing things only to win other’s approval or respect. Politicians are experts at this. They spend their entire lives being someone they are not, just to get elected and re-elected.
A person should be judged by their character not their outward appearance. Clothing, make up, plastic surgery and other “props” can alter the outward appearance of a person so as to fool just about everybody. Masters of disguise can hide their true identity from everyone but themselves and God. People who live dual lives truly are some of the best actors in the world and should be given prominent roles in upcoming movies and television shows. It is beyond me how people can project one image and live an entirely different one.
If you know in your heart that you are rotten, vile, disgusting and repulsive, yet portray to all around you that you are kind, gentle, pure and attractive; you are a hypocrite. If you know in your heart that you have hurt people, abused people’s trust and flat out lied to those who love you, yet “appear” to be the most honest, upright and loving person on earth; you are worse than a hypocrite, you are a rotten, vile, disgusting and repulsive phony and fraud. Anyone who can smile and tell you how wonderful you are while stabbing you in the back to steal the $5 in your wallet is the ultimate hypocrite
Near the end of Jesus ministry while in Jerusalem, he confronted the Scribes and Pharisees regarding their hypocrisy. Among the many incredible things Jesus said, a couple really stand out. In Matthew 23:27 and 28 it says in the New Living Translation:
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.
Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Jesus pretty well sums it all up in verse 33:
“Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?”
Obviously God and His Son Jesus Christ do not think too highly of hypocrisy, especially in the religious arena. To err is human it has been said, but to deliberately deceive people for the sole purpose of stealing from them, killing them and destroying them is behavior straight from the pit of hell, and that is where those guilty of such abhorrent things will be spending eternity. There is no excuse for deliberate deception in any realm, but especially in the ‘religious’ sphere.
The next time you see a political, religious or other intellectual leader exhibiting “holier than thou” characteristics; rest assured that more than likely they are guilty of hypocrisy and fraud. People who “demand” respect because of their positions and titles rarely deserve it. Respect is a privilege to be won not a right bestowed because of position or rank. People should earn our respect through their sterling character and faithful service, not be blindly handed it because of the initials before or after their name.
Always be on guard for wolves in sheep clothing and for other great pretenders. Be aware of those who through sleight of hand and other trickery appear to something they are not. Never fall prey to things that appear too good to be true, for they are never are. Jesus told his disciples to be “wise as serpents, yet gentle as doves”. I believe these words are still quite applicable today. Watch out for hypocrites, magicians and other experts of illusion. Look on people’s hearts and not their outward appearances. God does, and if it is good enough for Him, it should be for us also.
God bless you and keep you safe.