What is truly behind my religious practices, my donations, my volunteering in various outreach and Justice ministries? Jesus warns us to look closely at why we do what we do, especially as it pertains to our relationship with God. The religious leaders and teachers were observing their religion and times of prayer and worship so that they may be “seen” by those around them as devout and faithful. But their hearts were filled with condescension and arrogance, even to the point of not even noticing those who suffer from injustice, failing to act.
We are who we are, not by the words we use but by the actions that flow from those words. Words and actions must come together in harmony and sincerity. When words and actions don’t meet and support each other, we become people of outward show and appearance. In a word, hypocrites.
Become who you claim that you are. We call ourselves followers of Christ, which is a calling to live a certain way of life. Selfless. Just. Generous. Kind. Merciful. Humble. These words only have power and meaning when they become enfleshed in concrete, visible actions that occur largely in the background, without anyone knowing about them, except God, the only “audience” that truly matters.
The purpose of people seeing us do good works is so that they are inspired to do something themselves to inspire others, not to say how wonderful we are. May God be given the glory... not us.