Confronting Hypocrisy

Gal 2:11 – But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
12 – For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
13 – And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 – But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (ESV)

 Paul hammers home something that is sorely lacking in my life today–the willingness to confront hypocritical behavior and beliefs.

I am still challenged by the politically correct views of the culture in which I live. That is, when I see something that stands out in contradiction to what I believe is clear in the Word, I fall back on “You are entitled to your beliefs.” I do not confront and challenge the hypocrisy that seems to contradict the clear teaching of scripture.

Yet, I am not immune to hypocrisy in my own life.

When I was in Bible College, I was visiting my parents over the Christmas holidays. At Christmas dinner, my mother liked for everyone to have a glass of wine, and I had no qualms about sharing a glass with the family. During the meal, a friend from the college showed up at the door, and I felt very uncomfortable with his arrival. Was I not somewhat like Peter in the above quoted passage?

To me, it was hypocritical to have that sort of feeling. Either it was okay to have a glass of wine, or it was not.

I think the problem with confrontation exists in my life for at least four reasons:

  1. I’ve made incorrect calls in the past.
  2. I’ve seen others abused by such confrontation.
  3. Fear (of doing either one of those mentioned above).
  4. Fear of the animosity generated by speaking the truth.

To be sure, there are times when, with limited understanding of God’s dealings in a person’s life, I have gone in to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” (2 Tim. 4:2) and only caused grief for myself and the one whom I was trying to ‘help’. As a result, I now look for any possibility that “this may not be the right time” to bring something to someone’s attention.

I have heard more times than I can count that “whenever you point the finger, there are three pointing right back at you.” I’ve also heard the ‘judge not’ routine; and the ‘log in my own eye;’ and ‘we are not God’s policemen.’

I have spent many hours counselling those who have been hurt by someone who came in like gangbusters to correct some seeming misstep by a believer. I am also one who has suffered that kind of abuse.

As a result, I am now crippled with a fear of “getting it wrong” when dealing with one of God’s chosen.

But, the Lord has not given up on me. He continually brings someone my way who needs to be helped along the path, who wants to be helped along the path.

And in the process of my struggling with the correct words so that I minister life and not death, God gives grace and people are being restored.

However, as I write this, I am in contact with one whose world has been shaken. This one is no longer walking close to the Lord, and is even having doubts as to God’s existence, because of the ‘evil’ this one sees happening to and through others in the family.

I have been trying to make a gentle call to return to the Lord, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. The person essentially says, “Speak to me plainly.”

The problem this one is dealing with is not so much behavior, as it is belief. The belief that is based in self-righteousness manifests itself in blaming the others who are involved.

Confrontation will soon be called for, because the hypocrisy of self-righteousness is a cancer that destroys any life it touches.

Will I be able to “be kind to (this one), able to teach, patiently enduring (the) evil (of vehement anger), correcting (this one) with gentleness” (2Tim. 2:24-25)?

To compound the problem, this is a person with whom I made a major mistake with a false confrontation almost 30 years ago; and now this one is back in my life after more than 25 years.

Who says there is no second chance with God? 

NOTE: This is the second in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Galatians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter two of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put this link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: and make it a point to visit everyday.

7 thoughts on “Confronting Hypocrisy

  1. So totally agree here Dale.

    Who are we trying to please anyway? If Man then we are hypocrites, if God we are not. Seems pride is a big issue here also. We use pride to cover up, or to act in a certain way.

    Thank you for opening up a bit here with a personal reflection. Gives a bit more meat to chew on to know that I am not the only one who struggles with with.

    Peace Brother


  2. Dale, thank you so much for your transparency and honesty…it is very refreshing. When we stand before God, we will be standing before God. I struggle with “am I gonna hurt their feelings” alot. I have been both on the receiving and giving end as well…alot. But one thing I can say with confidence is that God prevailed in every situation….His will was done in EVERY situation. Spending that time with you and your bride did a world of good for me. I am getting better and working on my approach with people, but I will not back down from blasphemous theology with someone. It is our calling not to, and our job to know, seek and give accurate scripture. If Christ is to be our role model, then He did in fact “speak plainly”…and yes it hurts. I can’t think of one growth spurt that I have had that pain was not involved…either from someone else or my own bad choices…so all that to say, thank you, for being real, and I for one appreciate someone who will speak plainly. To me that is true love…for me and God. 🙂

    Thank you for reminding me of the growth process. I just really hate being the source for someone’s pain, especially when I’m still in a learning mode.


  3. Thank you Dale for sharing so much of your heart in this. I too fall into the same as you. I am learning. I am also learning that God takes care of those who step out in Truth, but under HIS calling. I don’t know if that makes sense, but what I mean is…there are times when HE calls me to speak Truth to someone and to be firm about it, and other times HE calls me to nudge that person. I think in this scripture Peter was hanging on the fence, and needed to be called off it. Don’t we all have times we need to call out Truth and times we need to be told Truth? just some thoughts.

    Love this post! love you too!

    Thanks for putting this in perspective for me. Yes, there are different times for differing situations. I’m still learning to know the difference. I hate nothing more than making a misstep that causes pain for someone else. I do not like to be that source.


  4. “Confrontation will soon be called for, because the hypocrisy of self-righteousness is a cancer that destroys any life it touches.”

    Wow. What insight.

    Excellent posting and a problem we all grapple with. I possibly err too much on the side of refusing to go along with political correctness, for I see it as a “gentle” way of lying. I recently told my husband that I pray with all my heart that I am never put in the position of having to buy a hybrid car. Why? Because to me it is symbolic of everything I abhor about our culture.


  5. I was talking to one of my Twitter Sisters just this evening about how I feel confrontation is one of my greatest weaknesses. Even bought a book called “Carefrontation” because just the word “confrontation” evokes pain to me for some reason. I am trying to do better for my own good. Many times I keep thinking if I just pray harder the other person will see the error of their ways but maybe that’s just my way of avoiding it. God did not give us a Spirit of fear I know. If you don;t mind someone referred me to a good post on confrontation just this evening. It is: Feel free to “confront” me if this reference is not okay. 🙂 God bless!


  6. Good stuff as usual Dale. I have often struggled with this myself. I often see something that I feel should be confronted and I think of Paul’s example but then I also think; “Yeah, but that was Paul! Who in the heck do I think I am?”

    I also struggle with the thought as to whether or not the rebuke I feel should be brought is from a heart of love. If not, then surely i sin against my brother when I bring it.

    Thanks for this post.


  7. Yeah, Joe.
    I think your take on whether it is with love or not is at the root of much of our reluctance. Those that don’t consider the love are usually quick to rebuke with a destructive force. Those who want to do it in love, restrain themselves–which may still lead to destruction.
    Are we hereby impaled on the horns of a dilemma?


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