Posts Tagged ‘hypocrisy daily devotional’

Daily Devotional: Matthew 23:23

Daily Devotional: Matthew 23:23

Matthew 23:23

New International Version (NIV)

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.


Consider: The verse we look at today stands in the midst of a blistering verbal attack that Jesus levelled against the Pharisees and teachers of the law. If you read the entire twenty-third chapter of Matthew, you’ll get a feel for Jesus’ utter disgust at hypocrisy—particularly self-righteous hypocrisy that exploits others in the name of God.

I highly doubt that any one of us falls into that category that Jesus referred to as “snakes,” “vipers” and sons of hell. But we should always be very humble to allow the Holy Spirit to show us the ways in which we must make sure that our lives measure up to what we profess to believe. We all have inconsistencies. None of us are perfect. But, as we saw yesterday, we are called to live according to what Christ has taught us—to “walk in the light” that he has shed on our pathway.

For me, the main thing that I need to take from this amazing chapter is Jesus’ declaration that the Pharisees had “neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness” (23:23).

Yes, some things are more important than others. Jesus clearly taught that the heart of the law is love. We don’t want the skeleton of religion without the heart. If we teach our children all the Bible stories and give them correct understanding, but do not demonstrate self-sacrificing love, we are what Jesus would call “blind guides” (23:16).

Down through the centuries many Christians have been involved in seeking out those who held heretical beliefs. And that’s how they defined heresy, believing or teaching things that are contrary to sound doctrine. The great irony is that many times the heretics were persecuted by the “theologically correct” heretic hunters. That means that the persecutors had missed the whole point of Jesus’ life and teaching. The greatest heresy of all is refusing to love.

Pray: “Lord, today I want to live by what you called ‘the more important matters,’ so…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”

– The Prayer of St. Francis