Hypocrisy versus Integrity
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity.” (Matthew 23:27)
An expert sailor with many years of experience prepared to navigate a solo trip across the Atlantic. He commissioned a boat made to his specifications, and she was a beauty.
A few days into the journey, the mariner encountered a massive storm. The seasoned sailor managed to send an SOS, but all contact was soon severed, and a rescue ship was launched to search for the lost captain. They found the capsized boat, but the man had perished at sea.
As the would-be rescuers inspected the wreckage, the cause of this tragic incident quickly became apparent: The heavy keel, which was designed to keep the boat upright, had not been installed correctly. As a result, the storm had torn it in two, leaving the boat vulnerable to the wind and waves.
Let us take an important lesson from this tale. Although the keel of a boat is largely unseen, submerged under the waterline, it’s critical for keeping a boat right side up. When it broke, the sailor had no chance of survival. The keel is what gives a boat integrity; the mere appearance of being seaworthy means nothing.
Matthew 23 gives us some insight into the passion that Jesus had for authenticity and integrity. Here, Jesus calls out the Pharisees for their practices because they took things that were good and turned them into legalistic rituals. Their desire to serve God had given way to a self-centered focus on themselves.
Jesus goes on to give us “seven woes” in this passage, using harsh imagery and language to convict our hearts. The Pharisees were “minoring on the majors and majoring on the minors.” In other words, they worshiped their rules and structures more than their Creator.
When you get down to it, a hypocrite is basically an actor, or one who wears a mask. When we wear masks, it is typically for two reasons:
- WANT—I want you to see me as something more than I really am.
- NEED—Because of my brokenness and shame, I need you to believe something different about me other than the truth.
Many of us have taken our identity from something other than our heavenly Father. You need to remember that God loves you and gives you hope and a future. He chose you to be His child. That’s where your identity must come from.
We need to reject hypocrisy and embrace integrity. So much of our life is lived unseen, like the keel of a sailboat. That is the part of our life that we need to build aright. So pay attention to the construction of your life under the waterline—the place where no one sees.
Father, I want to enjoy a life of freedom in Jesus. Keep me from the temptation to make myself look good to others. Help me to live each day with integrity, especially when no one is watching. Help me to build my life “under the waterline” so that I can stand strong and confident amid the storms of life and so that I can be a good witness and ambassador for Christ.
If you enjoyed this devotional by Davis Carman, enjoy reading his devotional entitled Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now!
Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, God, based on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Path, an ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.