Luke 16:14-15 - The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him. And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."
Have you ever met a hypocrite?
That's sort of a trick question, isn't it? The problem is if a hypocrite is being good at what he does, you would never know that he is one. Generally speaking, you can usually only tell a person was a hypocrite if he stopped wearing his false mask and made some sort of confession, some type of revelation of who they really were.
Apparently, that is the case for Second Lieutenant Spenser Rapone.
Lieutenant Rapone was a member of last year's West Point graduating class. West Point, the University that turns out officers for the U.S. military, has a high set of academic standards and a high code of conduct as it tries to instill in its students a good understanding and acceptance of the Academy's motto of "Duty, Honor, Country."
Now, why would anyone say that Lieutenant Rapone was a hypocrite?
The answer is supplied by Lieutenant Rapone, himself. Now that he has successfully managed to graduate from "the Point," he has sent a number of pictures to people. One of those photos shows him, as a cadet, opening his uniform to show a Che Guevara T-shirt underneath. (Ernesto, "Che" Guevara was a doctor, a diplomat, an author, a military tactician, and a Marxist revolutionary who was very important to the success of Castro's revolution in Cuba.)
Along with the Che Guevara shirt, Lieutenant Rapone had placed a sign into the cap he wore at his graduation ceremonies. The hand-lettered sheet reads: "Communism Will Win."
Since the lieutenant's revelation, West Point has stated the man "in no way" reflects the values of the U.S. Military Academy. Apparently, an investigation is beginning.
So that is the story of a West Point hypocrite, but how about religious hypocrites?
Read through Scripture and you will find the Lord has little patience with those who pretend at being His. Achan pretended to be a good soldier, but he stole forbidden treasure from Jericho. That hypocrisy cost him his life. It was the same penalty for Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Holy Spirit. Jesus reserves some of His strongest language for hypocrites and, in no uncertain terms, gives warning that a person may look good before men, but God knows our hearts.
The worst part of Christian hypocrisy is that it is so unnecessary.
God doesn't force anyone to believe. He doesn't twist anybody's arms into repentance. If someone wants to walk the wide road that leads to a place other than heaven, God won't forcibly stop them. But why would anyone want to con the Lord who sent His Son into this world to carry, pay for, and forgive all sins, including that of hypocrisy. Jesus stands waiting, ready for a truly repentant heart.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence or take Your Holy Spirit form me. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Chad Groening on October 6, 2017 for OneNewsNow. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries