My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who Am I

There is a tendency for people, when they are granted positions of priviledge and power, to forget where they came from and who they really are before God. This is true of all people, of all races, of all religions, of all faiths. It is a very real danger which they must guard against at all times. Sometimes, being "humble" is a conscious act.

And it isn't just true of those who are granted these positions. People like me are just as susceptible to the power of self-importance as anyone else. How easy it is to spout of what we believe to be great words of wisdom to the "masses", while we slowly but surely deviate from our own teachings.

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning this very thing.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prices? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to thers, I myself should become disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 New King James Version

What Paul is talking about regarding the running and fighting are analogies to the athletics of the time, which included running and a form of boxing. While training for these events, runners would run without a specific destination (with uncertainty). The goal was to build endurance and strength. Boxers would practice their punches, often without a sparring partner (beats the air). So, too, Paul said he worked at disciplining himself physically, as well as spiritually. Why? because it is the physical which weakens first, and then our spirits have a tendency to follow.

Time and again I find it interesting that there is only one sin Jesus directly condemned over and over and over again. Hypocrisy. And in the Gospel of Luke he warns us of it.

Beware the leven of the Pharisees, which is hypcrisy. For there is nothing coverd that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be hard in the light, and what you have spken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. Luke 12:1-3 New King James Version

I was reading in the Quran earlier this morning, and came across this.

2- The Heifer (Al-Baqarah)

[2:84] We made a covenant with you, that you shall not shed your blood, nor shall you evict each other from your homes. You agreed and bore witness.

[2:85] Yet, here you are killing each other, and evicting some of you from their homes, banding against them sinfully and maliciously. Even when they surrendered, you demanded ransom from them. Evicting them was prohibited for you in the first place. Do you believe in part of the scripture and disbelieve in part? What should be the retribution for those among you who do this, except humiliation in this life, and a far worse retribution on the Day of Resurrection? GOD is never unaware of anything you do.

If you get past the specifics of these two lines you see the same problem Paul and Jesus spoke of: hypocrisy. Agreeing to live by one set of standards, but then actually choosing to live by another.

It is what I worry about most regarding my own life. You see, no matter what I put down on paper, or into a computer, and no matter what words come out of my mouth, I know the thoughts in my head. I know the desires of my heart. And I often succumb to them.

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:34-37 New King James Version

Luke records a parable Jesus told regarding two men who presented themselves at the temple. One was a religious leader, a Pharisee, and he thanked God for his righteousness, that he was not like the tax collector who stood near. The other?

And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" Luke 18:13 New King James Version

Sometimes I fear that I am the first man.

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