23 "Woe to you, Sofrim and Perushim, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!
25 "Woe to you, Sofrim and Perushim, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness. 26 You blind Parush, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside of it may become clean also.
27 "Woe to you, Sofrim and Perushim, hypocrites! For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 "Woe to you, Sofrim and Perushim, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn't have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' 31 Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are sons of those who killed the prophets. - Mat 23:23-31 HNV
The Victorian novel The Picture of Dorian Gray illustrates how the person we project to others may be very different from who we are on the inside. After the youthful and handsome Dorian Gray had his portrait painted, he dreaded the prospect of growing old, and he wished the portrait would grow old in his place.
Soon he realized that his wish had been granted. The portrait, which mirrored his troubled soul, aged and became more hideous with each sin Dorian committed, while he himself remained youthful. His outward appearance did not match his corrupted heart.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for displaying a similar hypocrisy. Many of them took pride in showing off their spirituality in public. Yet on the inside, they were guilty of many secret sins. Because of this, Jesus compared them to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of . . . all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27).
We are tempted to cultivate a false image for others to see. But God knows our hearts (1 Sam. 16:7; Prov. 15:3). Through confession and prayerfully opening our hearts to God’s Word and the work of the Spirit, we can experience an inner goodness that is reflected in godly actions. Let God transform you from the inside out (2 Cor. 3:17-18).
Father, it’s easy to put up a front and hide
from the public what we are really like. We’re
grateful that we cannot hide from You. You
know us. Please change us inside and out.
Only Christ can transform us.
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"Baruch haba ba'Shem Adonai!"
"Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the LORD!"