Hypocrites! Jesus rebuked the religious leaders with that accusation. Could we be guilty of hypocrisy, too? And what about our parenting? Is the goal to have well-behaved children and could we be in danger of raising little hypocrites? How does understanding the deeper issues help us point our children to Christ?
Raising Little Hypocrites
Open My Eyes, Lord
Sometimes we find it challenging to read about all the sacrifices and the instructions for them. But it is important to remember that says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable …” Notice those words “all” and “profitable.” God inspired these passages and included them in His Holy Scriptures for a reason. We need to remain faithful and open our hearts to the truths contained in them.
Anytime we are reading a passage that is less exciting to us, we can ask God to show us what He has for us. There are always nuggets if we are willing to dig for them.
The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Ps. 119.18).
Ask Him to help you see, “Is there a command here that I need to obey? Is there a sin I need to forsake? Is there a relationship I need to reconcile? Is there a truth I need to understand?”
With that in mind, notice Leviticus 5.4:
4 ‘Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters.
Sometimes we sin, either by speaking harshly or in some other way, and the Holy Spirit convicts us. What we do at that point is so important. Do we harden our hearts and refuse to repent or are we quick to repent and seek forgiveness from God and others we’ve sinned against?
¹ And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor …
Anytime we sin, we’re not just sinning against people, we’re sinning against the Lord.
But I’d like to focus on 5.5 today:
“And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing.”
Even at this point in history, sacrifice alone was not enough. It had to be accompanied by faith, repentance, and obedience.
How does that verse speak to us today?
How many times have we been guilty of doing all the outward acts associated with Christian living and yet in our hearts we were filled with doubt instead of faith? Or gone to church and lifted our hands in worship while there was anger and bitterness in our hearts toward a spouse, family member, co-worker or friend?
Were we just “playing church,” as if that would make us right with God?
How many times have we insisted that our children say “I’m sorry” to a sibling when we knew it was not genuine?
True repentance involves “confession,” that is to agree with God that what we did was sin. It’s more than, merely, saying “I’m sorry,” because I was “caught” or as if it’s some form of penance. It’s about heart change. That is, a change in thinking which leads to a change of actions.
“Hypocrites” is an ugly word, but that’s what Jesus called those who did “religious things” outwardly without true worship from the heart. If that’s you today, go to God, seek His forgiveness and cleansing. Ask Him to make you a true worshiper.
And the next time you’re tempted to tell your child, “Say you’re sorry!” Think about it … are you teaching your child to be a hypocrite? You need to take the time to help him see that what he did was sin. Use the Word of God to share with your child, prayerfully asking God to convict his or her heart.
Saying “I’m sorry,” certainly isn’t the only way we teach our children to be hypocrites. We may inadvertently do so any time we address behavior without addressing the heart issue behind it.