Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Don’t be a hypocrite.
Don’t be a fake.
If you’re real, authentic, and have integrity, you have nothing to worry about. Jesus wants those who follow him to have an honest and real faith. We are to have lives that are fully integrated. That’s what it means to live a life of integrity. Somehow, “integrity,” has come to mean “good person.” That’s not really the issue. Integrity means that one’s life is fully integrated. In other words, who they are in one sphere of life is the same as who they are in another sphere.
We live in a time where people live dis-integrated lives. In one space a person may be a good Christian but in another they’re mean, nasty, and cut throat.
Dis-integrated lives are the way that many people live. If someone were to follow them from sphere to sphere they are almost unrecognizable.
Jesus says this is the way the Pharisees lived. They put on religious aires but in reality they were greedy and awful people who were dead on the inside. He tells the disciples to beware this dreadful disease.
Sadly, we have come to a place where many high profile Christians are being found out to be living dis-integrated lives. They come crashing down in fiery flames for all the world to see and to the shame of Jesus.
The high profile Christians who stay faithful to Jesus are usually mocked and ridiculed. They care not. Why? Because pleasing Christ is more important.
We have long known of the hypocrisy within many congregations. The man or woman who is present at worship weekly but Monday through Saturday is nasty as can be. Or the person who claims to follow Jesus but their life proclaims that they only follow themselves.
Friends our lives must reflect the reality that following in the way of Jesus is of primary importance. If we are going to claim to follow him then someone must be able to look at our lives and see that we are indeed reflecting his life and teaching, and not just on Sunday.
How do we care for those on the fringes of our community?
How do we speak of and treat our enemies?
How do we love?
These are the questions that we must ask of ourselves and ask, “Am I living an integrated life or is my life dis-integrated?”