Monday, February 29th, 2016
Parent Traps (Part 10)
Caught Religious Leaders
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!... Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence...
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew 23:23-27 (NKJV)
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
John 8:44 (NKJV)*
One reason I shied away from Jesus for years was my dislike of what I perceived as phony: pastors talking Jesus, but walking like the world; leaders lifting themselves, but putting others down. They seemed like royalty, and people worshipped them.
So here's my take: Church elders, leaders and teachers are like parents to new and learning believers. 'Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment' (James 3:1). 'For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required' (Luke 12:48).
Think about the punishment (described by Jesus) for bad parents of faith who pretend to be good: 'Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea' (Matthew 18:6).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: celebrities are like parents, too. Because people who haven't grown up follow them like worshipping children. Fame carries great responsibility. I've heard swaggering stars deny it:
Example: 'How we live is our choice. Can't people just leave us alone?' Really? They didn't want to be popular? Let's agree to pray for prodigals and leave all tempting judgments to God.
But in this mean time, His rising stars can embrace their roles like good parents... because that's what Jesus intended.**
To Be Continued...
* Jesus was not speaking these amazingly graphic words to idol-worshipping outsiders, nor to people considered by society to be sinners. Incredibly, Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of His day. Should we not be equally concerned?
** Luke 12:42-48: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+12%3A42-48&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Parent Traps series.