Two-Faced People

It’s likely you’ll rub shoulders today with two-faced people. Be careful! Discern their hypocritical hearts; avoid their iniquitous ways. But mostly, don’t be one of them. It’s easy to slip into two-faced living by saying one thing while thinking another in your heart. Ask God for integrity of word and thought. That’s what David prayed: Keep me from them, and keep me from being one of them. Hope you’ll pray that too!

Read Psalm 28

Featured Verse: Psalm 28:3

“Do not take me away with the wicked,
And with workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.”

There is a whole category of people whose behavior, by and large we excuse. However, God doesn’t. He doesn’t find them acceptable; they and the unseen attitudes of their hearts he finds deplorable. They are the kind of people who will say one thing to your face, but say another thing behind your back. And even worse to God than what they say about you is what they think about you in their hearts. The psalmist says they speak peace when they are in front of you, but even before you turn away from them, their minds are flooded with ill will toward you.

We might say they are two-faced. The Bible calls them hypocrites. And though we pretty much excuse their behavior and accept their ways in our culture, there is one who doesn’t. God’s righteous gaze cuts right through the syrupy surface of their lives with utter moral clarity and labels the wickedness of their hypocritical hearts, calling them what they truly are: Workers of iniquity.

Now I realize that at this point in your reading you might be thinking this is anything but an encouraging little devotional thought for the day. And truthfully, it is not. Rather, this is an exhortation. And the exhortation I have for you is twofold:

One, it is most likely that you will rub shoulders today with the kinds of people David describes in this psalm. Be careful of them. Discern their hypocritical hearts and don’t be tainted by their iniquitous ways. If you allow them into your inner circle, they will ensnare you. So be careful.

And two, don’t be one of them. It is so easy to fall into this kind of two-faced living. Ask God to keep you from hypocrisy. Don’t fall into the trap of saying one thing but thinking another in your heart. Ask God for integrity of word and thought.

That’s what David prayed: Keep me from them, and keep me from being one of them. Hope you will pray that too!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Two-Faced People

  1. Sorry to disagree with the foundation of your message pastor, but our God does excuse "behavior". All sins past, present and future forgiven. Yes sin is harmful, But can we remember that we live in a new covenant and the Law was fulfilled and sin was dealt the final fatal blow? Lets try to remember another question for all believers, that is: "what happens if I don't"? Am I forgiven? Is the new covenant still in effect? Were all sins really forgiven? Or do we hybridize the two covenants? Am I still held to behavior, law, performance, old covenant ways? I'm not saying that hypocrisy is good. I'm simply saying that I am called to share the good news of the bible, not the bad. And forgive me but I believe you have the same calling.

    • Greg– Certainly God forgives our sins and remembers them no more; he doesn't treat us as our sins deserve. But for one who chronically, deliberately, unrepentantly persists in behavior that violates his standards and purposes, God's seeks to restore through discipline (see Hebrews 12). "Not excusing" is not contrary to grace; it is a grace–when it leads to repentance, restoration, thought patterns and actions that are congruent with our identity in Christ and entrance into the abundance life that Jesus died to provide.

    • First of all, God is very much inside the New Covenant when he doesn't excuse behavior. In Romans 1:20, the Apostle Paul says that "people are without excuse." You are assuming that I, and David, were referring to believers only. I wasn't–and I don't think David was either. Paul follows the "without excuse" discussion up in Romans 2–and makes a really interesting statement in verse 7, by the way, by saying, "those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…" so apparently there is an accountability we have before God to giving effort, not earning, but giving effort to righteous acts. Secondly; aren't even New Covenant believers held to account for their behavior? Aren't there some behaviors and attitudes even among Christians and in churches that are without excuse. It seems to me that the epistle often deal with this (re-read, among other things, the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3). Yes, it is Good News we have been called to proclaim, but that Good News, proclaimed by Jesus and the Apostles, seemed to always acknowledge and deal with the bad news by identifying it and calling people to leave it through repentance. Being free from sin, which only comes through confession and repentance, is the Good News of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

  2. Wonderfully written. Your second sentence, "However, God doesn't" is old covenant teaching. New covenant says God does and did forgive all sins, past, present and future. The rest of this wonderfully written and beautifully laid out message continues to be the "bad news". Lets try to remember to ask ourselves (as new covenant believers) "what if I don't"? Am I going to hell or was the cross a finished work of forgiveness with nothing to do about my behavior or sins? And do i live in a new covenant or a hybrid of two? By faith or works? etc.
    Great message from a talented person who like me is called to share the outrageous good news of the Gospel. Lets get back to Christianity and leave religion to the mega churches.

  3. Wonderfully written. Your second sentence, "However, God doesn't" is old covenant teaching. New covenant says God does and did forgive all sins, past, present and future. The rest of this wonderfully written and beautifully laid out message yet continues to be the "bad news". Lets try to remember to ask ourselves (as new covenant believers) "what if I don't"? Am I going to hell or was the cross a finished work of forgiveness with nothing to do with my behavior or sins? And do i live in a new covenant or a hybrid of two? By faith or works? etc.
    You and or I might be wrong in our thinking but we should both believe that it won't be our acceptable or unacceptable behavior that gives us our fathers forgiveness. Not you or I, our behavior or opinions, but Jesus! Perhaps it's time to turn away from the tree of death (right and wrong) and turn to Jesus?