“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” – Amos 5:21-23.
Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” – Acts 23:3.
Born to royalty in Africa, Cinque led the revolt of fifty slaves aboard the ship bound for America. They killed all but two of the crew, manacled them to the bridge, and demanded a return to Africa. The Spanish ship’s mate deceived them, however, and took them to Connecticut. There the slaves were indicted for murder and piracy. The case became a national sensation. Former President John Quincy Adams represented the slaves and won them an acquittal. Released to freedom, Cinque returned to Africa to become a slave trader!
Hypocrisy denies the essence of religious faith. It expresses itself in many forms, some of which surprise us. One in particular Jesus harshly pilloried—the unforgiving servant. For the forgiven debtor to become the unforgiving creditor reeks of insincerity. The man demanded of others the payment of debt from which he had been exempted. Once begun, hypocrisy assumes a life of its own, sometimes against our will. It often begins when we want to save face in some way, so we play a part to gain an advantage. Once welcomed as a means of self-protection, however, hypocrisy contests our later efforts to take off our masks, for it whispers that we cannot be honest now without admitting we had lied before!