Luke 12:1 “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
It only takes a small amount of yeast to work itself into the entire bread dough. You can’t really see the yeast. You can only see the effect of it. Yeast puffs up and leaves holes in the bread dough. The yeast of the Pharisees does the same thing to a person. What is hypocrisy; “It’s saying and teaching one thing, but secretly doing and practicing something very different. The Pharisees were very good at this. According to Strong’s, the Greek word for hypocrisy (hupocrisis) carries the strong flavor of pretense and deceit.” (The Elijah Challenge)
What does hypocrisy look like in a person? Fear of man is the little spot of yeast that starts work in us to the point that it permeates all of our motivations. “When we are afraid of what others may say about us or do to us, then we try to impress them in order to gain their approval. If necessary, we will even lie to accomplish our purposes, . . .” (The Bible Exposition Commentary)
If you’re more concerned about your reputation than your character, bad yeast is working in you. If you say one thing and do the opposite, yeast has left holes in your integrity. If you’re overly critical of others while thinking that you’re pretty good yourself – you’ve got a nasty yeast infection. “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, `Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye,’ and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 4,5)
When does this sort of yeast infect a person? Where does it come from? Many years ago, I was putting up a TV antenna. It was a job for two people but I wasn’t willing to wait for a friend to help so I decided to take on the job by myself. My son who was five at the time was watching – from a safe distance. I struggled with the heavy antenna and almost got it positioned on the roof but a gust of wind was all that was needed to push it out of my grasp. It fell to the ground and a part broke. I climbed down from the ladder and inspected the damage. I could replace the broken piece at a local shop owned by a friend of mine. I said to my little son, lets go and get a new part.
When we arrived at the repair shop I went in and said to the owner; “When I was putting up my antenna I noticed that this part was broken. Do you have something that will work instead?” Immediately my son interjected; “Oh no Daddy, you tried to put up the antenna by yourself and it slipped out of your hand and fell and broke!” My friend and I locked eyes and I could see that he knew which one of us was telling the truth. With a little smile on his face he quietly said; “I think I have something that will work instead. Do you need a hand putting the antenna up?” Sheepishly, I accepted his kind help and we got the antenna up in one piece.
I don’t know when my son told his first lie or where or what it involved but I do know who helped to teach him to lie – his dad. Little boys watch their fathers. Little boys want to be like their fathers and they don’t miss anything. That day, wanting to look good in front of my friend I lied and my son learned a bad lesson from his hero. Oh, maybe he didn’t realize just what his dad did on that particular day but I’m sure he put it together later on. That’s how it works, a little bit of yeast gets passed from father to son, from one generation to the next. Have you ever been caught in a lie by your kids? Have you ever told your kids not to do something that you did yourself?
Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden we have been driven to hide what we are really like. We desire to be the best but struggle with the worst in ourselves and fail. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Time and experience teaches some of the futility of hiding; “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7).
If you want to be a good father to your son, if you want to be a good parent to your child stop hiding. You can’t hide from God. And your children will inevitably find you out in hundreds of little ways as you pass the yeast of the Pharisees on to them. Honesty with God, and honesty with your children stops the chain of yeast infection from one generation to the next. King Solomon illustrated the principle when he said to God; “You showed faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued your faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.” (1 Kings 3:6)
Praise the Lord!