I can’t stand hypocrisy. Neither could Jesus. The problem is, if I’m not open to correction, I could become a hypocrite.

It’s a painful truth that if we’re not open to correction we run the risk of becoming inauthentic. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had developed an elaborate system of rituals (masks) that enabled them to appear better on the outside than they were on the inside. Over time they convinced themselves they were truly righteous people since they so diligently obeyed all of their man-made rules.

Jesus unleashed his harshest words on them because they professed a high ethic that they didn’t practice. He told them, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

You’ve probably noticed that hypocrisy is one of those flaws most of us can spot in others without seeing it in ourselves. It’s like bad breath. If somebody else has it you want to keep your distance. But nobody can tell if their own breath is sweet or sour.

Now, go look in a mirror. As you gaze at your reflection, ask yourself, “Do I have weaknesses others can see that I refuse to face. Weaknesses I pretend are absent or under control? Or, am I the kind of person who is comfortable with my strengths and weaknesses and allows others to see both?”

If after gazing at your image you’re not sure, ask your spouse or a friend, “Do you see weaknesses in my character that you don’t think I know about?” Becoming like Jesus demands we try to be the same on the inside as we appear on the outside. Achieving such character isn’t a solo act; it requires the support of family and friends. While the process may be painful, it’s worth it.

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