“For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” (Romans 2:24, KJV 1900)
I am in the process of writing a book called “Hurdling the Barriers.” It covers some of the most significant and often overlooked barriers to church health. I have taken an honest look at my ministries and have found some reasons to rejoice, but also have identified areas where I have made mistakes. I hope to be honest about these mistakes in the hope that others will not make the same. The point is this. We need to be honest with ourselves and others, for if we are not, we are nothing more than play actors, hypocrites.
Paul in this long section is dealing with this issue as it relates to the Jews who were holding to the law and boasting of their righteous standing. These Jews thought they were the standard for others to follow. They thought themselves to be teachers of the law. In teaching it, they should have seen how far short they had fallen from the heart of the law, but they did not. They were blind guides leading the blind. So, Paul asks them some rhetorical questions.
“Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?” (Romans 2:21–23, KJV 1900)
He asks these so they will think and if they do, they will come to only one conclusion, that they have violated the same things that they have taught. They have not walked the talk. And because of this Paul quotes Isaiah saying, “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.”
From one standpoint, we all have become play actors to some extent. It is part of our old nature that we are still working by God’s grace to master. Yet, the true hypocrite is the one who sees no fault or weakness in himself and puts on the pretense of being perfect. He preaches the same and judges others. He pulls a splinter from another’s eye but is unable to see the log in his own eye. He teaches not to commit adultery, but his sexual fantasies would cause a sailor to blush. He says not to steal, but does not do an honest day’s work. He teaches not to worship idols but engages in hobbies and activities that steal his heart’s devotion to God. The downside of this is that people can see through the act. Like an audience at a play knows the actors are just playing a role, which is not real. Those that watch the self-righteous hypocrite can see the same thing and it destroys the credibility of their testimony.
Do not be a play actor. Be honest. When you are hurting, don’t hide it. When you fall, ask for help. When you fail, admit it. In doing so, you will have established great credibility and not look like the hypocrite.