True Colors

by Ed Urzi

“Let love be without hypocrisy…” (Romans 10:9 NKJV).

Years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth and The Doctor was in elementary school, he attended an art class twice a week. In art class, The Doctor learned that when you mixed the colors blue and yellow together, you created the color green. Then he learned that mixing the colors yellow and red together created orange and so on. Of course, The Doctor could never seem to create anything other than a ridiculous shade of mauve no matter what colors he mixed together but that’s besides the point.

Anyway, The Doctor was reminded of his art class disasters recently when he read the Scripture quoted above. You see, the Bible tells us that love should never be mixed with hypocrisy. There’s a very good reason for this because love mixed with hypocrisy creates flattery.

“Flattery” means to “compliment excessively and often insincerely, especially in order to win favor“. (1) This means that whenever one person flatters another person, they are treating them in a way that’s false or insincere. Perhaps the number one reason that people flatter others is to gain something that they want from someone else. That “something” could include things like money, attention, a date, or simply to be seen with the “right” people among other things.

Romans 10:9 tells us that real love doesn’t display this kind of hypocrisy. In other words, we shouldn’t flatter people or pretend to love them when we really don’t. When we flatter others, we are really just trying to use them in some way for our own personal advantage. Now it’s true that some people may be more lovable than others but instead of treating people to a hypocritical love, we should ask God to instill a genuine love for others within us. In any event, it’s better to be honest with someone about how you feel than to be hypocritical in your love.

Did you know that the Bible -and the book of Proverbs in particular- has much to say on this subject? Check it out…

“Flattery is a form of hatred and wounds cruelly” (Proverbs 26:28).

“Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet” (Proverbs 29:5 NIV).

“A man with hate in his heart may sound pleasant enough, but don’t believe him; for he is cursing you in his heart. Though he pretends to be so kind, his hatred will finally come to light for all to see” (Proverbs 26:24).

The Biblical book of Romans (part of which is quoted at the top of this page) encourages people not to get involved in this kind of behavior. Instead, as we’re told in Romans 12:10, we should be devoted to one another in brotherly love and give preference to one another in honor.

The advice that we find here in Romans is similar to the advice that the apostle Paul once gave in a letter that he sent to the church in the town of Philippi…

“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.
Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men. And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8).
So the next time you are tempted to mix love with hypocrisy just remember- the resulting color won’t be very attractive.

(1) The American Heritage Dictionary  third edition