Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
Since we are called to walk and talk the truth, what does church hypocrisy look like now? Is it anyone professing Jesus, but not acting the way Jesus acted? Is it a church embracing stringent rules, but forgetting the two most crucial Rules?*
Is it a pastor living the high life, but not humbling himself like Jesus did? Is it a fighter holding great weapons, but opting out of the world's greatest war? Is it Christians hiding God's talents, by refusing their worldly investment?
Actors, models and talent for Christ, you know as well or better than I: Most outsiders think we're hypocrites. Because they've seen pastors on the take, hate-mongerers on lofty pulpits, accusing billboards on the highways, condescending smiles on fake faces, church ladies tucked in gossip corners, and sneaky saints caught in dirty acts.
Therefore, you must straighten out this mess and restore truth to the brand of Christ. Consider three ways you can begin:
1) Be truthful about your shortcomings. When you act in a way you shouldn't, confess, repent and ask forgiveness. Showing honesty in your mistakes and the intention to do better is appropriate before the Lord and relatable to outsiders.
2) Denounce hypocrisy in the church. Looking the other way is sinful, although most U.S. Christians do it. You can handle it like Jesus said,** in gentleness and humility, but to ignore it makes matters worse and dissuades truth seekers from the Truth.
3) Only in His Word is the full Truth. Sweet, smart or fancy-talking preachers can be incredibly convincing. The Lord warns us about false teachers. So do your Book work and prayer time to increase your knowledge of the Truth.
To Be Continued...
* 'And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost Commandment. The Second is like It, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two Commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets' (Matthew 22:37-40).
** 'If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector' (Matthew 18:15-17).
** 'Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted' (Galatians 6:1).
** 'A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth...' (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Do-Gooders series.