“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You travel over land and sea to win a single convert,
and when you have succeeded,
you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are”
Matthew 23:15 (NIV)
“You blind fools!…You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Matthew 23:17, 33 (NIV)
Nowhere else in the New Testament do you read of Jesus using such forceful words as these. His anger is very evident as He denounces the hypocrites again and again in this most remarkable chapter of the Bible.
It is easy to be unintentional hypocrites. For example when talking with a lonely person who mourns the passing of a loved one we can too easily say something like, “We will have to get together some time.” Most times when a person says that they do not seriously mean it or else they would get out their date book and try to arrange a date for the meeting immediately.
What is even worse is the fact that the lonely person knows you do not really mean what you said. Here is an unwitting act of hypocrisy. Or you might say to a person who is suffering, “I will pray for you.” Then when it comes to our prayer time we forget our commitment.
In Ecclesiastes 5:5-6 (NIV) we read
“It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.
Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.”
We sin against God and the other person when we make meaningless statements like that. The tongue can be used in such a reckless manner. We may mean well by certain comments designed to encourage the listener, but if we neglect to follow through we sin.
Is there a vow you have not fulfilled? Have you the need to get busy and do what you said you would? Then pick up the telephone, call the individual and do as you promised. You will be blessed for your recognition of the commitment and acting on it.
Perhaps it has to do with your marriage vows. You solemnly promised to love and to cherish but you have been anything but loving as you argue and say cruel things to your spouse. Today you need to repent and confess your sin. You need to renew your marriage vows and turn again to the path of obedience to the Lord.
Maybe you have not honoured your aging parents as the Bible commands. You forget to phone, to invite them over for meals, to spend an evening visiting them. You say that life is too busy right now and you will get to it later. Many older people are quickly running out of “later”. Somehow later never seems to come. If you turn back and renew your commitment to those to whom you made a promise the Lord will bless and strengthen you in that good work. Turn back and do it today.