Piety and Hypocrisy

Putting Aside all Hypocrisy and Living for Christ

How easy it is to worship with all piety and correctness while standing in a service within an Orthodox temple, yet make no effort to live Orthodoxy during the rest of our week. If we are abusive towards our spouse, abrasive with a coworker, and short tempered with a neighbor, all the piety and liturgical correctness of our Sunday morning is of no value.

If we cheat on our taxes, steal pens from the office, or refuse to point out an error to a clerk who has failed to ring up an item, we will have reduced our life in Christ to no more than membership in a club. If we walk past a child who is being bullied, without intervening, we have become the bully. If we fail to call the police when we hear a neighbor pleading with an abusive husband, not wanting to get involved, we are a wife beater. If we smile at the racist joke of a coworker, we are just as guilty of racism as he.

Being a Christian is far more than adherence to a set of doctrines, or the adaptation of liturgical forms of worship and piety. To be a follower of Christ is not like joining the Elks Club, where paying your dues and attending meetings makes you a member. Taking the name of the Saviour for ourselves, and calling ourselves Christian, must mean that we imitate the Saviour’s life. It must mean that others see Christ in us, each and every hour of our day.

We must be the neighborhood peacemaker, the one who is quick to forgive when wronged, the person who is always looking for ways of being in service to others. If we truly wish to be called a Christian, we must put aside hypocrisy in all its forms, and live Christ. We must work towards changing the world, just as did Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who told us that if we acquire peace in our heart, we will save a thousand around us. Justice and peace does not come with revolution, but comes when the hearts of men and women are transformed by the Holy Spirit, and this change can only begin, when we put aside all hypocrisy, and replace it with genuine, heartfelt commitment to Jesus Christ, living in imitation of the Saviour.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

About the author

Fr. Tryphon is the Abbot of the Monastery of the All-Merciful Saviour, which was established in 1986 by Archimandrite Dimitry (Egoroff) of blessed memory. The Monastery is under the omophore of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

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