August 12, 2013
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to see the faults in others and yet miss our own? The other day I was sitting at a stop sign waiting for an oncoming car to pass by. Then, without using the turn signal, the driver turned onto my street. I shook my head at his thoughtlessness! The next day I was not paying attention and made a turn without using my turn signal. The waiting driver caught my eye and scowled at me. I had done the very same thing!
In condemning others we reveal that we know that what they are doing is wrong and so we condemn ourselves! That is what Paul was saying in Romans 2:1. “Therefore you have no excuse, O man… because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” Later on in the same chapter Paul escalates his indictment by saying that God’s name was defamed among unbelievers because of their hypocrisy.
I’m sure you have heard people say that the church is full of hypocrites. As a matter of fact, the church is filled with sinners because being a sinner is the first qualification for getting into the church! But there must be a way to pursue holiness and still foster humility and honesty within the community of believers.
We are justified by faith and the righteousness of Christ is accredited to us. From that moment on God begins the work of transforming us and freeing us till there is a family resemblance. The call to holiness is unequivocal. (1Pe. 1:15) God never grades on a curve or tolerates sin. But it seems that in our effort to measure growth in sanctification, we fall into the trap of put more emphasis on external conformity instead of heart issues. The resulting pressure can turn us into performers and pretenders. That’s where the poison of hypocrisy enters. When we claim to be more “spiritual” than we really are, when we pretend to be further along than we really are, the result is destructive not only to ourselves but to those around us.
Several months ago Addy, my four-year-old granddaughter locked her parents out of the house so she could eat a cupcake they had told her not to eat. Really! A week later we were at their home for a visit. No sooner did we sit down than Addy came over to me and said, “Granddad, I ate the cupcake.” I already knew the story so I responded. “Mmmm. That wasn’t very good was it?” She shook her head ‘no’. “It’s really important to obey mommy and daddy isn’t it?” She nodded ‘yes’. “Do you know how much granddad loves you?” I spread out my arms as wide as I could. She smiled, hugged me, and then ran off to play.
The church should be a place where we are safe enough with each other to admit, “I ate the cupcake”, and also a place where we lovingly hold each other to the high calling we have received in Christ Jesus.