A Barna Group study revealed that non-Christians American primarily associate Christians with the word “hypocrite”. Truly, there is a dire need for vulnerability and authenticity in the church – especially among leaders. After all – nothing ruins trust in a leader as the discovery that he or she is a fake.
Before starting with today’s devotional leadership study, look at this inspirational talk by Dr Dale Cilliers on the need for leaders to be candid (real, authentic, truthful). [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGb7E6wsk2o]
1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Observation and refection questions
Context: Jesus and his disciples just had dinner in the house of a Pharisee and the crowds gathered in and around the house to hear him speak.
- When would someone usually be labeled as a hypocrite? From your knowledge of the Bible, why did Jesus call the Pharisees “hypocrites”?
- Note whom Jesus addresed in this conversation (verse 1). Could you think of someone among Jesus’ disciples whom might have rightfully been called a hypocrite? Why would you say this?
- Jesus referred to hypocrisy as “leaven”; what is leaven, and how is hypocrisy similar to it? How do you understand this metaphor then?
- How are verses 2 and 3 related to the “Beware…”-statement of Jesus?
Personal reflection and Application
The Pharisees were devoted to the literal observance of Moses’ Law and traditions of the elders. Yet Jesus repeatedly referred to them as “hypocrites” or actors – pretending to be morally upright and religiously observant but only as long as people see them.
- Which aspect of your life if “brought to light” or “proclaimed from the housetops” (especially in your local church) would cause your much shame?
- What are the effects of leading publically with pretense while struggling with a private weakness or sin? What have you experienced? Think and reflect.
- Write your private flaws on a piece of paper. Then read it to the Lord, as though he is sitting in front of you. Confess the sin and ask for mercy for forgiveness and grace for overcoming the temptation (1 John 1:7-9; Hebrews 4:16).
- Next, overcome the shame of hypocrisy by telling a mature Christian friend whom you trust. Commit to be transparent and accountable with him/her weekly about this. Take their counsel in the matter!
- Name the great Biblical leaders whose flaws were well recorded. What do you learn form that?
- How can you still lead in authenticity and truth while being weak in a specific area?
Pray for the grace to live a humble and honest life as a leader, safeguarded in true friendships where you can be absolutely honest about your struggles and flaws. Ask God for grace to lead and live with authenticity while growing in holiness.
Reference: Kinneman, unChristian, Barna Group, 2007