“Take care not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them.” Mt 6:1 AMPC
Jesus reserved His harshest condemnation for those who did good deeds “in order to be seen.” He flipped on the spotlight and exposed every self-righteous mole and pimple. He called them hypocrites, the original Greek for “actor.” First-century actors wore masks. So a hypocrite is someone who puts on a mask, a false face, and performs for the applause of others. Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t do good works.” Nor did He say, “Don’t let your good works be seen.” We must do good works, and some of them must be seen in order to have impact. So let’s be clear. To do a good thing is a good thing. To do good to be seen is not. In fact, to do a good thing to be seen is a serious offense. Max Lucado says: “Hypocrisy turns people away from God. When God-seekers see [gospel] singers strut like Las Vegas entertainers…when they hear the preacher—a man of slick words, dress, and hair—play to the crowd and exclude God…When church attendees dress to be seen and make much ado over their gifts and offerings…When people enter a church to see God yet they can’t see God because of the church, don’t think for a second that God doesn’t react.” Jesus was clear on this issue: “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding” (Mt 6:1 MSG). Today let God be seen—not you.
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