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It is interesting how we rank sins. My nephew has noted that different Christian denominations rank sins differently. He said divorce is about at the top in the denomination we belong to. But he told me a story of a similar church in a different denomination that was considering making someone he knew a deacon. They never questioned his divorce, but they would not ordain him, if he couldn't quit smoking.

I don't mean to minimize these or any other practices God's people treat as serious. But we often overlook hypocrisy, which is the sin Jesus condemned most severely. Jesus spoke so much about hypocrisy that I will not attempt to draw out everything He said about it. That might be a worthwhile subject for future blogs. But looking at one passage we can see some crucial reasons it is such a plague on our spiritual lives.

In Matthew 23:25-26 Jesus condemns the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”

Hypocrisy is devastating because of

The Seriousness Of Whom You Impress.

I am too horrified at the ways I have been a phony in my life to share them with you here. But I can tell you, I often catch myself trying to impress other people. I want others to think I am smart, or honest, or manly, or good. Trying, even wanting, to impress people makes them into false gods. God sees into your heart. He is not pleased with what impresses other people.

Hypocrisy is dangerous because of

The Seriousness Of Whom You Deceive.

You know that being a fake doesn't fool God. You may deceive other people some. Probably the more people you deceive, the worse the cancer in your soul. But the person you deceive most is yourself. The Pharisees were blind to the fact that appearing to be good, or close to God, didn't make it so.

And hypocrisy kills because of

The Seriousness Of What You Miss.

Pretending to be smart may not always keep you from learning. Pretending to be strong may not always make you week. Pretending to be rich, may not always make you poor. But pretending to be holy always offends God. Trying to appear good to people will cause you to overlook the corruption in your heart. Hypocrisy will make you miss God's forgiveness. And there is nothing worse in this life or the next than missing a relationship with God. And even as a child of God, a fake spiritual life will corrupt your relationship with Him and stunt spiritual growth.

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