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

Friday, May 8, 2009

To Be Known For Who We Are

I tend to look for hypocrisy within myself. Generally, I can find it with little effort. But isn't that what we all do? Look or hypocrisy in someone who stands up and speaks about God as loving and forgiving? We don't particularly like to see people achieve when it comes to faith. It's an ugly truth, but the truth is - it is true. We are very jealous of each other, and afraid others are making it while we are falling again and again. Our instincts all tell us that if anyone else can do it, we can. So when we don't we have no one to blame but ourselves. And so we look for fault in others.

My friend, Stephen, knew me better than anyone else, including my family. My brother insists he knows me well, but he's seldom correct when he tries to 'get inside my head'. Even Stephen wasn't right all the time, although he understood me best.

Stephen liked to try and trip me up with silly questions to which the answer had no relevant meaning. Basically, they were the "how many angels do you say can dance on the head of a pin" sort. I remember him tossing out this possibility to me.

Suppose you saw two men drowning. One was a Christian and the other wasn't. Who would you save first?

I found the question stupid and told him so, but he wanted an answer. I gave him a two-part answer. First, I would try to save whoever was closest first. Second, I can't swim well enough to save anyone.

It was only later that I realized that there would be absolutely no way I would know who was a Christian and who wasn't. The best I could do was guess. For just as even Stephen couldn't know all of my heart, neither can I know anyone else's. I can guess based on visible evidence, but I can be wrong. Some phonies are so good at what they do even the wisest servant of God may be fooled. What chance have I against such wiles? And some legitimate servants of God are still quite imperfect. Look at me. I believe I am God's servant, but I am filled with so many faults and such that many look at me and don't see it at all. We never really know.

How many times have you seen close friends and relatives interviewed after someone has committed some horrible atrocity? Usually it's rape, murder, or child molestation. Or even a combination of all three. Friends, siblings, parents, spouses, fiances, children, and others all stand in amazement. This is not the person they knew. And yet it was. They just never saw it. Some will get angry and defensive, as if they feel they are being judged for their lack of sight. In a way they are, but the judgment is hardly fair. We cannot see into each other's hearts. We can only guess.

Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:16-18 New King James Version

Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:14-15 New King James Version

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LOD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward apeparance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 New King James Version


Silver said...

yeah. I guess that's why thank God we are saved by GRACE and not by our WORKS!

that will be no chance for most of everyone to make it if it were!

it's funny what you said about your brother's questions. I had a friend who used to ask me questions like that too. It wasn't funny then.

Bevie said...

The questions themselves imply a trick and/or double-standard. They serve no purpose, and now that I'm older I don't waste my time trying to answer them. Since the question is not serious, there can be no serious reply.