Archives For hypocrisy

Things I’m All In Favor Of

September 22, 2012 — 1 Comment

happy-dog

I’m pretty sure by now we all know what everyone is against. It’s all over twitter, facebook and the news. And it’s really getting me down. SO…here’s some stuff I’m FOR. I’ll update as I think of new things, and you all can add your own in the comments – you don’t have to like or agree with my list to play – seriously – you can make your own list -

People

Grace

Freedom

Love

Acceptance

Forgiveness

Truth

Peace

Honesty

Transparency

Breaking strongholds

Overcoming obstacles

Destroying barriers

Sleeping late

Greasy tacos

Unexpected checks in the mail

Firearms

Pig in hat

A recent study revealed that about 78% of Americans consider themselves Christians. Mixed in with that number, in order, are Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox (both Greek and Russian) and then a line item that comes in at .3% that’s just called “other.” I wonder who those people are?

I know you probably know this, but not everyone who cries out “Lord, Lord” is actually a Christian. Where I live, there’s a little Baptist church pretty much on every corner, except for the corners with a CVS or a QT. But thinking about it, we can get pretty religious about our pharmaceutical and convenience store needs.

Think about it like this – why is the world so screwed up if all those people are actually followers of Jesus Christ? The best, easiest answer is, it wouldn’t be if they actually were.

I remember in high school, people who were in the running for Homecoming King would always have their bio read during a school-wide assembly, “Yes, he’s the greatest and he knows it! He loves the foosball, hang gliding, galivanting with all his foosball friends, and he’s a member of the [local Christian denomination left unnamed to protect the innocent].” Then all of us who were members of that church would look at each other, and say, “I’ve never once seen him there, how about you?”

I’m thinking back to something I read in Mark the other day. Jesus was beboppin’ around, hitting town after town, doing his thing – a few miracles, some sermons, he fed a few folks, told some stories, and then one day, around dinner time, some of the local preachers and church staffers came up to him and questioned him real good about his heathen, sinful ways.

You see, Jews believed you had to wash yourself in a particular way before eating, or you would be ceremonial unclean.

And now for three short vignettes:

When I was a kid, if you came to church with shorts on, you’d be shown the door. Didn’t matter if you were lost as a goose and had never been and the Holy Spirit himself drove you to the front door and said go in. Shorts were not allowed. Not at church, not at the church office, not at church camp, not on a church trip of any kind. KNEES WERE SINFUL DID YOU NOT KNOW THIS??

A few years back, I was a youth pastor. I met a great guy at a school event, invited him to come to church, and he showed up with a hat on. On a Wednesday night. In the youth building. I had so many people complain about that hat! I thought at first they were kidding, but no, they were dead serious and quoted me scripture that said people can’t wear hats to church. I asked one guy to go study I Corinthians 11, then instructed him to make sure his wife shaved her head before leading prayer before the Wednesday night church supper next time.

In another church we had a youth band. Kids were coming in from everywhere, getting saved, getting fired up, bringing friends, leading bible studies at school – and the catalyst for all that was the band. Sure as heck wasn’t a middle aged bald headed youth guy. Well, there was some praying, too. Anyway – a church member told me if I didn’t “unplug those evil drums and guitars” he would unplug them and they would stay unplugged forever. I think he meant to go all Keith Moon on them.

Anyway.

How many of you were told by your parents as a child, and to this day tell your children, to wash up before dinner? It’s all about the hygene, right? They could have some unknown sand box pathogen and end up on an episode of House.

How many of you are Jewish? Well, they’re the ones that started that. What we call hygene, Jesus called something else. In Mark 7 the religious leaders asked Jesus why he didn’t wash up before eating. He flat out called them hypocrites. Look it up. Wow, right? Way less than tactful, Jesus.

Thing is, he wasn’t there to placate the pastor of some crappy little church. He wasn’t there to uphold the traditional, or to make the religious people happy. He didn’t come to bring peace – he came with a sword. He came to cut his people free.

How can you know someone is who they say they are? Well, a doctor wears a white lab coat, a leopard has spots. Birds fly and bees be. Generally.

“Well, Christians read the bible and pray a lot, and go to church a lot. Sometimes they don’t eat for whatever reason, and some of them when they pray it’s not real words coming out of their mouth. And they have a bunch of bibles.”

No.

There’s only one way to tell a Christian. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

When we can get over ourselves, get past our traditions, give up our hurts and our past, when we can actually love like Christ loved – sacrificially, unflinchingly, unapologetically, wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and without regard for personal safety – then everyone will know! There will be no doubt who and who’s we are.

How do you love? Like a regular person? With strings attached? You can love like that, but don’t call yourself a Christian if you do.

Religions people are some of the most difficult people I know. I’m not talking about people who actually love Jesus, whose life is all about pursuing him – I’m talking about your standard every-day-run-of-the-mill church people. If you’ve been a guest at a church and been offended by someone who (not very politely) let you know you were sitting in their seat, you might know who I am talking about.

The thing is, we all have great potential to be just that - churchy, religious, overbaked, self-righteous. Maybe not overbaked, maybe undercooked. I don’t know. Either not quite done or way too done or maybe a little bit of both.

Hypocrisy really burns me up. I know who I am, I know my exact faults, I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I’m very honest about the fact that I am rough around the edges. Way less so than a 20 years ago, this time last year, or even a week ago. I’m in progress. The work is not done yet. The Holy Spirit is still working it out in my life, and I am letting him. I even went to a co-worker today and told him I was sorry for being a jerk. 15 years ago I would have beaten him and then laughed about it. I wish I was kidding.

I have never tried to make people feel bad for messing up. One time I went to a party (many moons ago) and got a little polluted. The next day I was confronted by some kids from church and they really laid it on thick, how Jesus was so ashamed, and how God was crying, how I needed to repent (For the record, I’m not a drinker these days, but I had the potential to be the fat dude in the corner that could outdo everyone when I was a kid). These same kids were sexually active, disobedient to their parents, disprespectful, and you already knew this but very judgemental.

It’s a conundrum, wrapped in an oxymoron, wrapped in a holier than thou. Wrapped in a tortilla. A corn one. I can’t wrap my mind around it to be honest. Every church where I’ve been on staff we had people like this. Every church I’ve been a member of has had people like this. I wonder if I’m like that sometimes and to keep from it I examine myself daily because to be blunt it makes me really mad. I think this type of behavior is disagreable to God too. How he actually feels I don’t know but that part of me that is him really doesn’t like seeing it.

An oxymoron is a figure of speech with contradictory terms – business ethics, rap music, true story, deficit spending. A churchy Christian is a living oxymoron. AKA a hypocrite.

It’s a distressing and difficult question - a conundrum. You probably hear it often enough how we are not supposed to judge people (Jesus said it in Matt 7). This little snippet of scripture is used to justify everything that anybody wants to do that they know is wrong but want to do anyway. If people would bother to read the whole passage, they would notice Jesus is talking to hypocrites to start with. The point is, a hypocrite has no basis of judgement because their lives are all out of whack – their standard of judgement is self, and when they stand in judgement over others they are in fact judging themselves guilty. See what he did there?

All those self-righteous people have already condemned themselves and they are probably not smart enough to understand it.

So how can we be true to the Word, stand for Truth, and not come across as a judgy, self-righteous prat? The thing is, Jesus was not telling us not to judge, he was telling us how to judge – not in hypocrisy, and not out of hate, but out of love, in humility, not superiority.

Galatians 6:1 says this – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” The qualifications for judging another person are, you should be spiritual – seeking Christ daily – you should be seeking to restore the person gently, not dragging them through the mud and definitely not holding their sins against them or thinking you are better than them. And you had darned well better not have sin in your life.

If you are honest in your pursuit to restore a person, then God will be with you in it. If not, judge not, or you will be judged with the same standard that you are judging. It’s a fine line, and we are called to walk it, but we must walk it carefully, prayerfully, and with the Holy Spirit as a guide.