Tag Archives: Hypocrisy

What I Really Believe About God

My pastor recently introduced me to the S.O.A.P. Bible study method and, as I’m enjoying it quite a bit, I thought I’d share some of what the Lord’s been teaching me. Hope you enjoy!

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Scripture

Titus 1:16

“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

Observe

It is possible to know God without following Him. You can believe in Him and still be ‘detestable’ and ‘worthless’ in serving Him. This was written to a group of people who lived in a world where professing Christ cost them something: comfort, security, social standing, persecution. In today’s first world society, it doesn’t cost us anything to say we’re Christians. It’s too easy to give God lip-service while doing and giving nothing else whatsoever.

What you do is what you believe, the rest is just talk.

Application

I need to act out what I believe. And what I believe is that God is God, that He is good, and that He is in control. That’s what I say I believe.

But the beliefs I live out suggest that God is only sort of sovereign over a couple things and even with those, only if He gets the voicemail I left Him. He is good to other people and even though He’s proven His goodness to me, that goodness can and probably will run out soon. Besides, it’s not always my idea of goodness so it doesn’t really count. And even though He probably did create all of time and space, it’s okay if I don’t read the Bible today; He understands that watching the new Gilmore Girls special is important too.

These are the beliefs my actions imply when I spend my time worrying, envying, pouting, ignoring Him, and blatantly sinning. If I really do believe that God is a good Father, my good Father, then my actions and attitude must reflect that.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank You so much for loving me, for giving me endless second chances. Please forgive me for taking You for granted, for using pretty language and talking until I’m blue in the face then turning around and acting in direct opposition to what I just said I should/could/would do. I’ve been so wrapped up in myself that I’ve been worthless for Your Kingdom. Please let that stop here. Please help me to put my money where my mouth is. Bring  my beliefs and actions together and please help me to live what I claim to believe. It’s in Your precious name that I pray, Amen.

So, based solely on your actions, what do you believe?


Being the Right Church

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 (Originally published 9/5/13)

I really like my church. The pastor gives a great sermon nearly every week and everyone there is very friendly. The church as a whole really cares about the community and does several outreaches as well as mission trips abroad. Their is a general heart for people at that really shines.

But their praise and worship music is way too loud. And there are a few other things that annoy me every Sunday. Some of these little things have been enough to start me contemplating a church change. I’ve been a ‘member’ of 4 churches in the last 12yrs, and while I remember my other two churches and the people I knew there fondly, I’ve so far failed to find a true and lasting fellowship connection.

I think a lot of people are in the same boat. They go to a church for a few years, fail to really ‘plug-in’, get annoyed with a handful of small details, and go looking for a change. Or perhaps they get too ‘plugged-in’ and, realizing that their pastors are humans and make mistakes, they get disillusioned and leave.

The worst is when someone in the church hurts you and you leave because of the pain, sometimes never to return. I myself have been hurt and annoyed by my fellow church attendees on a few occasions and, if I’m being honest, I’m still harboring some resentment about it.

Whenever I consider going church shopping again, I think of a story I heard one time:

Once, in a small mountain village, there lived an old man who liked to sit outside the village and greet visitors. One day, a band of travelers approached the old man and asked him to tell them about the people in his village. He responded with a question: “What were the people in your own village like?”

“They were terrible,” the travelers replied. “They were vicious and backbiting, they gossiped all the time and everyone was extremely selfish and judgmental. We finally had enough and we’re looking for a new home.”

“The people in this village are the same way,” The old man told them.

The travelers sighed and nodded, having expected as much. They continued on their way, in search of greener pastures.

Presently, a second group of travelers approached the old man with the same question and he replied in the same way: “What were the people in your own village like?”

“They were wonderful!” the travelers gushed. “Everyone had a real sense of community and neighborly love. We all looked out for each other and became like a real family. We hated to leave, but we felt led to go out and begin new settlements.”

“The people in this village are the same way,” The old man told them.

You see, I’m discovering that the common weak link in my church shopping is me. Churches, and Christians, get a bum rep. We are called judgmental hypocrites and churches are given wide berth by people who either a) don’t know what we are really like, or b) know exactly what we are like.

The thing is, we are humans. All of us. Christians too. People outside the church don’t want us judging them (and we shouldn’t) but then turn around and judge us for being judgmental. I myself have fallen into the trap of viewing my fellow church attendees according to their sins. Sins like overly loud music, or hurting those I hold dear.

But really, I should have even more love, grace, and forgiveness for them than I do for non-Christians. Why? Because the people inside that church building are my family members. Regardless of whether or not I know their names, like the same movies, share the same interests, or am in the same stage of life, if they are born again in Christ, then they are my brothers and sisters and I need to treat them as such.

I’m really excited because this Sunday, my church is beginning the ‘small group’ sessions for fall and my husband and I are going to find a group to join so we can start enjoying deeper fellowship with the members of our church. I don’t want to forsake the assembling of the brethren anymore. (Heb.10:25)

I’m eager to start loving my family members the way I’m called to love them, regardless of music volume, hurt feelings, or hypocritical judgments. A very popular phrase I hear is that we are the church. So I would encourage you, if you are dissatisfied with an aspect of your church (not including faulty doctrine, of course) rather than trying to find the right church, ask God to help you forgive your brethren and begin loving on them. Ask Him to help you be the right church. 


Hypocrisy: It’s Only Cool if I do It

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I’ve been reading and thinking a lot lately about the hypocrisy in the church and judgment vs. tolerance. I came across this passage in Luke that I think makes some interesting points:

‘But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath: and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath.” The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”’

Luke 12:14-16

The callousness of the synagogue ruler astounds me. Can you imagine the uproar if hospitals were closed one day of the week? Picture being sick for eighteen years and suddenly you have access to the miracle cure. Would you want to wait even one more minute?

The Pharisees took the Lord’s commandment and warped it to fit their own end. They changed the rules, manipulating the Law of God and then imposed their own ideals on the people.

Don’t we as Christians do that sometimes? Sometimes we make up the rules and when someone breaks one of those rules, it’s like God no longer has our permission to work in their lives.

Jesus came to heal the sick, but we get irked when He doesn’t follow our guidelines.

“No Lord, don’t bless her with a Godly boyfriend. I know what she did with her last one and if she were truly repentant, she would never date again and only focus on You.”

“God, why did you give him the job at the church instead of me? He goes out for drinks with his friends once a week and I haven’t touched alcohol in years.”

We Christians labor under the delusion that people have to attain a certain level of holiness before they are worthy of God’s healing power in their lives. We weigh others in our own scales and find them wanting, then we get indignant when God begins transforming them. Or sometimes, we just choose to reject their confession of faith and refuse to love and accept them as a brother or sister in Christ.

Like the Synagogue ruler, we tell them they can only be healed if they are seeking God the way we believe they should.

I love when Jesus says “think of it.”

We should never allow our religious regulations to crowd out compassion. It doesn’t matter if someone is committing the most offensive, heinous sin in the world. That only means they are all the more ill, all the more in need of God.

Think of it.

Think of being so lost you don’t even know you’re lost; so trapped in sin that you’ve fooled yourself into thinking you’re ok and don’t need to change. Think of living a life apart from God.

Do we really want to stand in the way of Jesus’ healing work in someone’s life just because He isn’t going about it the way we think He should? Are we that conceited? That uncompassionate?

Have you ever told someone to come back when it’s no longer ‘the Sabbath’? You know, after they’ve cleaned themselves up a bit? Or are you letting love and compassion govern your actions and bringing people to Jesus to be healed?

I know I’ve been guilty of holding people to my standards instead of God’s. Well, no more. I’m throwing out my scale, because it’s God’s opinion that matters, not mine. 


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