You and I have been a hypocrite. You don’t believe me? Here are the 7 deadliest signs of hypocrisy you probably don’t know.
Are you a hypocrite?
Jesus Christ or Yahshua our Messiah heavily condemns hypocrisy. He lambasted the Pharisees for being a hypocrite. They received a heavy penalty for the sin of hypocrisy.
The problem with hypocrisy is it is difficult to detect for the person committing it. If you are given a sense of discernment, reading the Bible should be enough for you to determine whether you are a hypocrite or not.
However, in most cases, it takes another person to point it out to the one who is being a hypocrite.
You’re probably thinking by now that you are not a hypocrite, that you are living an honest and pure life. Well, the truth of the matter is that WE ALL HAVE BEEN A HYPOCRITE, including myself. Sadly, we commit this sin without knowing it or even if we already know it, we simply ignore hypocrisy.
For this reason, it is crucial for us Christians to know the signs of a hypocrite. By being familiar with these signs, we will be aware of what to change in our lives and become better followers of God.
In this post, let me share with you the 7 deadly signs of a hypocrite.
Sign no. 1: hypocrites pretend to be someone they are not
The word hypocrite came from the Greek word hupokrites, meaning an “actor under an assumed character” (Strong’s Dictionary). A hypocrite uses a mask to hide his true identity and be perceived by others in a way that he is not.
Hypocrites take the pain and effort to look sanctimonious, divine, and sinless. They want people to believe that they are more righteous than others.
Jesus Christ has this to say to hypocrites:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:25-28).”
Strong words from the mouth of our Messiah.
Hypocrites are public saints but private sinners. Though they look divine, godly character is far from their hearts.
Job 8:13 tells us:
“… The hope of the hypocrite shall perish.”
Though the hypocrites may triumph for a little while, they will ultimately be discovered. They can only do so much to hide their true character. Soon enough, people will know the truth and they will be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:16).
Sign no. 2: Hypocrites love the praise of men
So, why does a hypocrite puts a great effort to look righteous? Because a hypocrite highly values the praise of men.
Matthew 6:1-2 tells us:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, THAT THEY MAY HAVE GLORY FROM MEN. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
You see, hypocrites are after the fame and glory this world could offer. For them, it is the praise and recognition of men that give them value and honor.
Jesus Christ further illustrates how hypocrites love the praise of men. He continues:
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, THAT THEY MAY BE SEEN BY MEN. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward (Matthew 6:5).”
Hypocrites love to pray and what’s their main purpose? Is it to draw closer to God? No. They pray for hours and hours so that people may see them pray and cause them to think that they are pious and holy people.
Matthew 23:14 adds that hypocrites love to pray long prayers for a show.
Another example how hypocrites attract attention to themselves is through fasting.
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces THAT THEY MAY APPEAR TO MEN TO BE FASTING. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:16).
Yes, hypocrites may succeed in impressing people and getting their praise, but sadly, as Jesus Christ repeatedly mentioned, they have their reward. Instead of obtaining an everlasting reward from God, they settled for the TEMPORARY applause of people.
If what motivates you to do good is to obtain people’s attention and praise, then you a hypocrite. If you only work when your boss is around, if you are just a Christian during church services, if you give something just to impress people, then I’m sorry to say this but you are a hypocrite.
Plain and simple.
Sign no. 3: A hypocrite is more concerned on correcting others than themselves
Another sign of being a hypocrite is that they avidly point out the mistakes of others while ignoring theirs. For a hypocrite, they see themselves as righteous and see others as sinners. Thus, they take it to themselves to correct others.
While hypocrites may be right in identifying sin when they see one, they must first correct themselves before they can correct others.
We read in Matthew 7:3-5:
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? HYPOCRITE! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Jesus Christ is telling us here that a hypocrite is quick in pointing out the sins of others while he is suffering from a bigger and more serious sin.
As what was popularly mentioned, “Practice what you preach.” You can’t expect people to believe you when your life is filled with sin as well.
It was also said, “I rather see a sermon than hear one.”
So, be careful at judging others when you don’t even take the effort of correcting yourself.
Sign no. 4: A hypocrite puts more importance in man-made tradition
In one instance, the scribes and Pharisees were furious to see how Jesus openly violate their tradition. They asked Christ:
“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread” (Matthew 15:2).
Christ explained to them how they put so much importance on their human tradition that in the process, they violate God’s commandment of honoring their father and mother.
Christ further said:
“You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (verse 6).
Because of a hypocrite’s willingness to look holy to other people, he will desperately think of different ways on how to achieve this. Thus, these hypocrites create man-made traditions to create more opportunities to look pious.
Isn’t this strategy all too familiar today? Let me give you an example. In our country, there are hundreds of fiestas dedicated to different saints. They say it is a time to honor so-called saints, but in reality, they take this as an opportunity to get drunk, stay up late, and play loud music until the rooster crows!
(Be sure to read “The Shocking Reasons We Should Stop Praying to Saints.”)
After going to the church, they would spend the rest of the day in festivities and in most cases, forgetting what they just heard from the preacher.
Sad, but true.
Sign no. 5: A hypocrite’s heart is far from God
Jesus continued His discourse with the scribes and Pharisees by quoting Isaiah.
We read in Matthew 15:8-9:
Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
Hypocrites have mastered the art of lip-service.
They know how to fake it through their words. On the surface, through their flowery and religious words, they seem to be praising God.
But God isn’t interested in what they are saying, but rather God is more interested in the substance of their hearts.
In the same manner, we can go to church services, sing hymns and praise to God, and listen to sermons but if our hearts aren’t right with God, we are simply being hypocritical.
Jesus further cemented His statement on how hypocrites simply value more their traditions rather than keeping God’s commandments. They are experts in “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Hypocrites believe that they can be more righteous than God.
They disregard God’s commandments and replace it with their own invention. This is a sign of their hearts being far from God even if they spend so much time worshiping God, praying, and fasting.
Sign no. 6: A hypocrite forgets about the weightier matter of the law
Hypocrites got their focus on the wrong things. They think much of themselves to the point that they forget what truly matters.
We read in Matthew 23:24:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: JUSTICE AND MERCY AND FAITH. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
The scribes and Pharisees are highly meticulous in paying their tithes. They make sure that they have all the calculations right. Even the smallest grain, they still count and put every effort to never overlook anything.
Now, there’s nothing wrong in doing your best in following the law. As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ even said that these are things they ought to do – meaning, they should give their tithes.
(Please be sure to read, 10 Reasons Why I Tithe.)
There’s nothing wrong with the law. If there’s something wrong here, it was their attitude.
They were strict, precise, and meticulous in following the less significant matter of the law while they are careless in observing the WEIGHTIER matters of the law.
What are these? They are justice, mercy, and faith.
They neglected being just to their neighbor.
They forgot to be merciful to others.
And most certainly, they put more faith in themselves than God.
Jesus went on to say that these hypocrites are blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! The hypocrites will warn others of every small violation of the law but will not bother correcting them or their selves when it comes to sins with bigger consequences.
They were so strict that keeping the commandments and laws of God has been a burden!
I John 5:3 tells us:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. It is never the intention of Jesus here that we don’t take “little” sins seriously. In fact, He is telling us to beware of both the lesser and weightier matters of the law. We can’t simply be too concerned about little sins and at the same time, forget about the bigger sins.
That would be hypocrisy.
We must be about overcoming every sin in our lives, be it small or big. In doing so, we can avoid becoming a hypocrite.
Sign no. 7: A hypocrite is self-righteous
If it is difficult to identify hypocrisy, wait until you mixed it up with self-righteousness.
The combination of hypocrisy and self-righteousness is FATAL. It can easily make a Christian spiritually blind and terminally deceived.
(Be sure to read 10 DEADLIEST Signs of Self-Righteousness You Probably Don’t Know.)
Matthew 23:29-30 tells us:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’”
As you can see here, a hypocrite seems to be serving other people but it was never from the heart. They can put up a show of good deeds and yet, they don’t actually want to do it. In truth, they are just forced to do so to please other people.
Here is where hypocrisy meets self-righteousness. Jesus explained that while they are honoring the memory of the prophets, in their heart, they are speaking of how righteous they are.
The hypocrite believes that if they were alive during the time of the prophets, they would not have joined those people who have killed them!
For the scribes and Pharisees, they believe that they will NEVER fall into the same trap of persecuting the prophets. But here they are persecuting the greatest prophet of all time – Jesus Christ!
Because of their self-righteousness, they can’t see that in fact, they are committing the same mistakes that their forefathers committed. These hypocrites think that they are better than their ancestors, but in fact, they are doing the same thing with Christ.
A self-righteous hypocrite would think of themselves as more spiritually superior than others. They are quick to find faults in others while ignoring their own sins.
Hypocrisy is among the greatest sins of Christians all throughout the ages. It has led many astray. Due to hypocrisy, many unbelievers are turned off to Christianity, thinking that we are no different to others.
Sadly, hypocrisy isn’t just found among members of the Church, but also among its leaders. We have all been hypocrites at some time of our lives. In fact, this sin is a struggle for many of us.
Now, here’s the hope that we all have: hypocrisy, like any sin, can be overcome. You may not successfully eliminate it from your life overnight, but the important thing is that you are struggling against it.
As long as you are putting an effort of eliminating hypocrisy in your life even little by little, God can see your heart and will commend you for that. He is more than willing to help you overcome hypocrisy and live a genuine and blessed life. Just pray and ask for His help.
No one’s perfect but we must aim for perfection (Matthew 5:48). That’s how high God has set the standard that we all should live by.
With these seven deadly signs of hypocrisy, I hope you will have a clearer picture of what it is all about. And by having this fresh insight, you will have a better idea on how to overcome it.