Character can be thought of as what one does when no one else is around. It is easy to play the part when surrounded by people we are trying to impress or be one with, but it is quite a different story when there is no one around but God. Those who lead double lives are called hypocrites in the Bible. That is why we must strive to manifest the same virtues and conduct ourselves in the same manner whether in the company of many or no one but God.
Many years ago I served under a leader who was a dynamic teacher and appeared on the outside to be the model of Christian perfection. This man was charismatic and could motivate others to go jump off a cliff if needed. He had a beautiful wife, two precious little children and by every outward criteria, the perfect life.
Once this man took off his public mask, he was nothing but a fraud. He was an alcoholic, a cheater, a liar and a notorious womanizer. It disgusted me to see him jump in a phone booth and put on his superman outfit when doing a big meeting and then when it was over, turn into nothing but a pervert. In due time his conduct was confronted and he was stripped of all ministry responsibilities, went through a divorce and sent out to perform his tricks for the world.
God has no tolerance for hypocrisy. He is not looking for people who can put on a good show but then live nothing of which they preach. God has no need for those who advocate “do as I say but not as I do”. Contemporary Christianity is littered with examples of great men and women of God who won the hearts and wallets of many but in reality were nothing but hypocritical frauds. Entire ministries have been brought down by the unbridled greed and lust of those entrusted with leading them.
One of my longest running pet peeves is that of ministers naming their ministry after themselves. In my books, this is nothing but pure arrogance and a sign of pride vs. humility. Ministries are of God and thus should take the name of Godly attributes and not the name of person who started it. Part of what split apart the church in the First Century was the inclination by leaders to win followers to themselves instead of the Lord.
All believers needs to cleanse their consciences and seek to manifest the same qualities whether in the presence of others or no one but the Lord. With all of our hearts, we should cry out to God to help us manifest purity, simplicity, integrity and Godliness. God is not impressed by someone who outwardly appears pious but inwardly is dirty and ungodly. God would much prefer His people to be pure and humble while wearing rags than to wear flowing robes and be nothing but hypocritical frauds, fakes and counterfeits.
I have tried to make this case before but always catch a lot of flak when I do. I think that you hit the nail on the head with hypocrisy. It's taken on plague like proportions in the Christian community. Well said. God bless.
Years ago, when my son was studying theatre, he told me that the word "hypocrite" comes from the Greek word "hypokrites" which means a "stage actor" or pretender and that's exactly what you describe. We think we can discern when someone is acting and when they are not but the truth is, if they are any good, we can't.
There have been times when I have sat in an audience watching my son perform when I have struggled to stay in my seat and walk up and slap him. I have also watched him transform himself into characters which his own mother wouldn't recognize, LOL!
Truthfully, raising an "actor" is not an easy task and I would often find myself asking God to help me discern what was genuine and what was acting and He did. Many times I would suddenly realize I needed to tell him to drop the mask and not attempt to play games with God... or me for that matter.
I have the same repugnance when people name ministries after themselves. I'm not saying that they are not legitimate in what they do but I personally think it is just one more thing to get the focus off God and onto us.
One may "pretend" to the world but God knows the heart and in the end the heart will be exposed to all.
One may hide from the world but one can not hide from God.