Religous Hypocrites


            Then he said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers.  These will receive great condemnation” (Mark 12: 38-40.)


            Jesus warned his children to be wary of the Pharisees who had been abusing their positions of religious authority in order to amass large quantities of wealth.  Outwardly they appeared Godly; they wore the robes of holy men; they made long prayers in public for all to see; yet privately they would seize every opportunity to abuse those who were helpless.  Jesus said that they “devour(ed) widow’s houses.”  Widows were very easily exploited.  As a mandatory condition for marriage, a man had to build a house for his bride.  When the husband passed away, the wife would inherit the home.  With no source of income, widows would often be forced to sell their homes in order to survive.  Many of the religious Pharisees who outwardly claimed to be Godly would exploit the widow’s circumstances; paying far less for the property than it was actually worth.  Many, including these widows were victimized because they trusted in the outward appearance of Godliness.  Jesus warned that such vile individuals would one day be judged for their misdeeds.

            Many years ago, I was working as a sales representative for a tile company.  I had recently become a Christian, and the other employees were aware of my conversion.  Suddenly, in walked a man who was the Pastor of a world famous church located just up the street.  He and his wife made a small purchase; he then pulled around to the back to pick it up.  As I headed to the loading dock with the sales slip, one of my co-workers (who was not a Christian) contemptuously remarked, “Isn’t that your pastor friends car; the one that costs over a hundred thousand dollars?”  Sure enough; there it sat, washed and waxed; in all of its splendor.  I felt contempt, anger, and sadness in my heart; knowing that he had likely been using God’s name for his own personal profit.  [Concerning judgment, the words of Christ were eventually realized; a few years later, this man and his family lost everything.  His mega church, with all of its expensive buildings, statues, and complexes went bankrupt; the church dissolved in few short months, and the entire establishment was sold to another institution.]  

            In his earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ staunchly warned his followers to avoid hypocrites; especially religious hypocrites who would seek to exploit others and to use God’s name for personal profit.  As Christians we are not to be deceived by the superficial appearance of Godliness.  Rather, we must test everyone to see if what they do is truly of God.  If what a pastor, a teacher, or a preacher says on stage is not synonymous with who they are in private, then it is likely that they are Pharisees and cannot be trusted.  

            “Lord Heavenly Father, please reveal to us any areas in our lives where we are being hypocritical, and help us to change.  May we always accurately represent You in every area of our lives.  May we be loving, giving, and caring, in public and in private.  Help us to recognize false teachers and religious hypocrites, that we may guide others away from them and toward You.  We love You Father, and we praise You, and we ask and we pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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