There are a many names that each of us more than likely have been called at one and time point in our lives- hopefully mostly in our youth compared to adulthood . Some names just kinda of roll off of our backs while others have a little more sting/”ouch!” to them. One that I believe falls into that category would be “two-faced.” I’m sure most of us understand immediately what that name implies. Hypocrite. Act differently around certain people than around other people. Can’t be trusted.
In our reading today, we come across someone who could easily be called a two-face/hypocrite. No we aren’t talking about an unbeliever or some wicked person. We are talking about the Apostle Peter. The same Peter who denied he knew the Lord just before Christ was crucified had another incident of hypocrisy in his life. In Galations 2, Paul talks about an incident in which he had to withstand and rebuke Peter to his face. Wow, what did Peter do to deserve such an awkward moment with Paul? In short, he was two-faced. Apparently whether or not Peter would eat with some Gentiles would depend upon who he was around. Normally he didn’t have a problem eating with the non-Jews, but when he was around a group from James and the church in Jerusalem, he would slink away and not eat with the Gentiles. His reasoning was that he “feared those of the circumcision.” (vs 12). So instead of being the proper example to these brethren about being accepting of the Gentiles, he became a chameleon and acted like one of them.
Lest we get too hard on Peter however, how often do we have times of hypocrisy in our own lives? James talks about a tongue that “blesses God and curses men.” Ouch- been there! How often do we find ourselves praising God on a Sunday but are tempted to “be one of the guys” on Monday? Or worse yet be one of those living an out-and-out hypocritical life. While that would not be true of most of us, we still need to look out for those moments when we are tempted to blend into the crowd and not stand up for the things of God. May we follow the example of Paul and take the necessary stand for what is right and not give in to the temptation to be two-faced. After all, those moments of hypocrisy may be a major obstacle in someone else coming to Christ.