It’s All For A Show
Volume IX ~ Issue XLVIII ~ August 23rd, 2009
By: Brian A. Yeager
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How many times have we all met those individuals who are trying so hard to convince others that they are something other than what they really are? Where I grew up, we used to say these individuals were perpin’ (slang for perpetrating a fraud; pretending to be someone you are not).

Those who are acting a part and trying to convince someone they are somebody else are truly miserable people. It has always blown my mind to watch people work so hard to just live a lie. This is not a new problem, especially in the realm of “religion”.

During the first century there were many who were pretenders. Nothing is new (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Notice:
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward… Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward… But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments… Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 6:5; 16, Matthew 23:5, and Matthew 23:25-28).

It is easy to see hypocrisy all around us. How about if it’s in us? What if you are pretending? Can you see yourself clearly?


What If You’re The Actor?


There are a lot of people we all have seen who sit in a pew regularly, host Bible studies, practice hospitality, speak great words, study the Bible, display knowledge, lead in services, etc. and yet you find they’re really fakers. Sometimes it is long before you see them for who they really are. Sometimes, these individuals are self-deceived (II Samuel 12:1-7, Psalms 36:2, Proverbs 28:26, II Timothy 3:13, and James 1:26). When they examine themselves, they cannot see themselves either.

Let’s not get caught up in what we do and what we’ve done. This is an easy distraction from what we really are. I knew a preacher (Lowell Altizer) who was a professional when it came to listing all he had ever done “for the Lord”. He had a book of names of people he had baptized. (He missed that we are not out to baptize, but to teach the truth – I Corinthians 1:11-18.) He had a book listing the names of people he had studied with. These books had names that went backwards sixty years or so. He always talked about the good he HAD done. Lowell was, at that point in 1999, “retired” from preaching. His plan was to be in Heaven based on what he had done. Sad thing is, he was a fake. When push came to shove, he did not want to teach or practice the truth. He was only concerned about how he looked to others (cf. Jeremiah 9:5). He could not see he was wrong, because he had done so many “good things”. Lowell could have been best described like this:
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). Are you like Lowell?

Let’s not get caught up in what others do. It is really easy to blame others for our errors. This mindset prevents honest self-examination and true repentance. We all have seen individuals who do this. I knew a guy in Kentucky named Jason. He could not find a group of brethren to work and worship with. He was always focused on the errors of others. You see, Jason could do no wrong because in his eyes he was more faithful than all others. To be clear, we should have no wrong in us (II Corinthians 7:1) and we should test others (I John 4:1). However, Jason was not out to help others be saved (Galatians 6:1-2). He was out to prove himself right and all others wrong. Jason missed the fact that he needed to clean up his own life before he could assist others in cleaning up theirs (Matthew 7:1-5). When anyone would try to help Jason, they found that he had accumulated a list of things he perceived that person has done wrong as his defense. If your sins are worse than his, he has to be right was his logic. This then allows one like Jason to be self-righteous (Proverbs 12:15; 20:6 and Romans 10:1-3). When anyone tries to help such a one, they are attacked for it and charges are levied about sin in that brother or sister’s life (Matthew 7:6). After all of that, this person will fall completely away and blame the one’s who tried to help them for it. Are you like Jason?

Let’s not get caught up and use traditions of men as our excuse. It is really easy to justify our sins by saying this is the way it’s been said or done for many years. We all know that following human traditions in our work and worship to God is sinful (Mark 7:1-9 and Colossians 2:8; 18-23). The only traditions we should be following are the one’s revealed in the New Testament (II Thessalonians 2:15). We all remember Herman Starkey. Herman was unfaithful in his service to the Lord and the brethren. When Acts 2:42-46, Hebrews 10:22-25, and other passages were shown to Herman he went to the court of human opinion and lined up the teachings of liberal preachers to show the way it’s always been believed in regard to faithful attendance. Herman could see nothing of the truth, because human traditions became his excuse for his errors. As a body of believers, we are all expected to work together (I Corinthians 12:14-27 and Ephesians 4:16). Human traditions will allow you to practice all manner of sins. Will you use them? Are you like Herman?

Conclusion


Your love for the Lord should be sincere (Ephesians 6:24). Don’t try to act your way to Heaven. God knows you better than that (I Chronicles 28:9 and Hebrews 4:12). Don’t play the part, live it (Philippians 1:21)!