I ended our last post by quoting Romans 12.9, the verse that was the driving force behind all my teaching and preaching in 2022, our year of unfeigned love. It says “let love be without hypocrisy”. The Greek word here means to act, and it literally means someone who is under a mask, as in Greek theatre actors would wear masks to let the large audiences see which character they were playing. Sometimes, sadly, people come to church and conceal their true motivations and intentions by acting! They are hypocrites!
I have seen this increase recently – people acting. I pastor over forty nationalities, and I have found some cultures are based on outward shows of honour, and in those cultures there is a lot more acting. Sadly, someone can bow and courtsey and then stab you in the back before they are standing upright! As leaders we need the wisdom to see through these masks. We need to be able to recognize the Proverbs 26.25 people in our midst:
When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, Because there are seven abominations in his heart (NASB)
You need to be able to notice a mask. You will notice the mask because it never changes – the person is never anything less than the same. Remember satan is an actor, he can play the role of an angel of light (2 Cor. 11.14), and the most satanic people can act as the most angelic. They are so nice and pleasant – and that is ironically the sign – they are too nice and too pleasant, in a way that is almost creepy. The devil acts out as an angel. I have had to deal with marriages where one or other spouse is acting like the devil and I wonder why the other spouse married them, then I find out that before the marriage they were playing the role of a good man or woman! Then after marriage, they stop their acting, they stop going to church, they stop pretending to pray and read the Word. And the marriage becomes difficult!
A mask can only cover the face, not everything else, so as leaders we need to be aware of what else is going on – when Delilah was acting as someone who loved Samson, her mask was on, covering her face, but that actor’s mask did not cover that she was still a Philistine, still had loads of Philistine friends, and still did things that were incongruent with her act. As a leader we must pay attention to signs like this. If someone pretends to be totally in love with your church, but is not there often, not serving on a team, not in a small group, they are acting! It’s fake!
Delilah defeated Samson because he fell asleep in her presence. We must not sleep in the presence of our Delilahs. When you suspect someone to be an actor, do not trust your life to them, do not be asleep around them. Samson fell asleep in Delilah’s lap and from that night on, he never had a night’s sleep again!
I have the true and genuine honour of being close to some very seasoned and wise leaders of the faith, and I would never dream of repeating what they said to me in private. But I have heard people who were in private conversations, then mock the people they were talking to. The person did not know it was someone who was acting as a friend. It is important to know who you can be asleep around. Andrew Wommacks says the most important thing is that your inner circle of friends should be safe, and I could not agree more.
When someone repeats things that I said in private in public, I know that person is not safe, they are only pretending to be safe. The mask might cover the face, but it will never cover everything. Stay awake until it is safe to sleep! Selah!