29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
The hypocrites decorated the tombs of the prophets that their ancestors killed, thinking that they were better. In reality they were worse, plotting to kill THE Prophet! The hypocrite reacts badly to the word of God, looking to discredit the messenger. The hypocrite looks at the mistakes of others with pride that they would never be so stupid. The hypocrite doesn’t learn from the mistakes of the past and goes on to make bigger ones.
Am I a hypocrite? Do I compare my ‘wisdom’ with others ‘stupidity’? Do I learn from past mistakes and sins or just try to act as if they never happened? Do I read the history of Israel in the Old Testament with contempt, putting myself in God’s shoes rather than, more realistically, alongside the rebellious, grumbling people? Do I react badly to the convicting word of God, seeking to discredit the messenger before seeking to examine myself?
The solution is not just to learn from the mistakes of ourselves and others as if self-improvement is the goal. It is to look at the sins of others recognising that it is only by the grace of God that I have not done the same thing. It is to look at my past sins knowing that it is God’s grace that has dealt with them, not my effort. And it is to listen to the word of God humbly, regardless of the messenger, examining myself honestly.