I hope that, as we look at the reasons why Jesus calls people hypocrites, we would recognise hypocrisy in ourselves. But don’t stop there, in despair or vowing to try harder to stop being a hypocrite. Look at Jesus, the only non-hypocritical person who ever lived, and the one who died for your hypocrisy.
Part 1 - how to be a hypocritical giver
when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you
The hypocrite wants others to see that they are giving. They are giving, not to help others, but in order to be praised by others. We might think of giving as a selfless act by definition, but the hypocrite shows that it can be done selfishly. The hypocrite looks generous but that is because they like to look generous. God isn’t fooled. God sees how generous we are when no one is looking.
Am I a hypocrite when it comes to giving?
Do I think first about what others will think when it comes to meeting a particular need? Am I generous if no one else will ever know about it? Do I talk as if I’m more generous than I am? Would people in the church think I'm more generous than people who know me at work?
If I am a hypocrite when it comes to giving, I don’t need to try harder to be generous when God is watching (which is all the time!), as if trying to impress God as well as others. What I need to do is look to the great Giver, the Generous One, who gave his Son for us. When I start to grasp what that means, it results in generosity that is oblivious to who’s looking.