11th August 2012
The Only Sensible Response – Avoid Hypocrisy
“Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.”
Romans 12:17 (NIV)
We are probably familiar with the sayings ‘what you are (is speaking) speaks louder than what you say’, and ‘actions speak louder than words’. Both of these sayings are recognising the same thing. They are pointing out the need to be seen to be doing right.
Whether we like it or not, we are a living witness to all that we are and believe. Our actions and words are motivated by what we really are. People who say one thing and do another are known as hypocrites, and nobody likes a hypocrite, in fact they are avoided and shunned. We should want our actions to truly represent that we are sincere, honest and honourable people.
The apostle is being clever in this request. He is actually encouraging us to be all these virtuous things. In effect he is saying ‘be careful not to fall into the trap of insincerity, hypocrisy, dishonesty and dishonourable behaviour.’
Because we struggle with a nature that is not all that we would wish it to be, we will find a tendency to slip into these ways if we are not vigilant. Paul speaks of us walking circumspectly, notice in Ephesians 5:15-17 (NKJV), “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
And what is the will of the Lord? To do what is right in the eyes of everybody. By that he means to do what is Godly so that we do not run the risk of saying one thing, the Godly thing, and doing something else, an ungodly thing.
As Paul points out this will take presence of mind, and awareness of our passage through time and life. We must recognise that there are forces arrayed against us that are at war with our best intentions. Notice again the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV), “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
If we are to do what is right in the eyes of everybody, we must be alert to the traps of the carnal mind and the world around us; we must walk with our spiritual eyes wide open watchful and be careful that our actions and words truly represent all that we, and our Lord, wish us to be.
Father in heaven in my mind, my inner self I wish to walk just as you will. Help me to walk circumspectly, careful that my words and actions truly reflect my mind and your will for everyone to see so that I do not bring reproach on your name.
Study by David Stirk