Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Is it true that the church is full of hypocrites? As I sat reading the newsletter from Living Praise (if you have not read it yourself, check it out at www.livingpraise.org), I felt conviction just overwhelm me. There were so many areas that I could find fault in my own life that I thought, am I one? I told Joy "you have just got to read this". Why? Because I want us to be in one accord as we battle all of these areas. Now I find myself writing this so we may all be in agreement as we do battle against the principalities and powers, against the spiritual wickedness that surrounds us as outlined in Ephesians 6:12. I have been seeing (and complaining) how those who don't want to hear about Jesus as savior don't want to come to Him because of, as they say; The hypocrites. Well, after doing a bit of self checking, I have found many areas where I have been just that! The world we live in today is watching us and seeing us talk, but not acting like who we say we are. Jesus said in Luke 6:41 Why do you see the speck in your brothers eye and yet you don't notice the log in your own eye? He talked a lot about hypocrites, look at Matthew 6:5, 6:16, and even 23:16 to name just a couple. And by the way, the New Testament is full of references concerning hypocrisy. I have been looking at (in others) the want to bask in riches over serving Jesus, the money hungry christians, the unethical business practices, the seeker friendly churches, the way we talk about each other, gossip, tale telling, etc.. BUT then I realized through both prayer, and Living Praise's newsletter just how big a part "I" play in the area of hypocritical Christianity. How many times have I lied to keep from hurting someone's feelings? How I justified the lies by feelings, because of not wanting to be confrontational, because of making others angry, sad, or even sometimes for fear of losing friends and/or family members. I seem to have forgotten that Jesus said in Matthew 19:29 everyone who has forsaken houses, or brothers or sisters, father, mother, brothers and sisters, even our lands will receive a hundredfold and shall inherit eternal life. I feel Hypocritical through things people have either said to me, or about me that hurt me to the core, offended me, caused me to try to, although most times not really intentional, (at least I was at the time unaware) try to repay evil for evil, to hurt back, to tell God to "get them for what they did". To give up what God had given me, to run like Elijah did after God did great and mighty things through him. There have been three or four who have done this to me throughout the years, some things were justified, most were out of context. Nonetheless, my job is to forgive, even seven times seventy in a day. I have no right to allow the flesh to act like my enemy the devil. If you are reading this and you know you are one of these people, please know You Are Forgiven, by me, and by Jesus, what I am saying here is a testimony of who "I" need to be no matter the circumstances. I do not want you to be offended, I do want you to be my friend and hope our friendship lasts. But people need to know that I am human, I make mistakes, but more than anything else, I want Jesus to be seen in me and unfortunately that has not been the case often enough. My friend Don says (and it is truth) that we are no longer the men we used to be, that the old man has died and is just trying to resurrect himself. Dead men can't be hurt, can't be offended, can't because we are new men in Christ. Here is what the world around us needs to see, "Jesus in us". There have been other hypocritical things like trying to be careful to not bring offense to family members or friends who don't want to hear about Jesus. People who curse His name and curse you and I for mentioning His name and most of the time they can't tell us why they curse us or Him. When actually they are just going by what others have said to them about Christians, or what Christians have done to them. If I really love them, I need to be truthful with them even if they reject me (Him). They usually say things like I know God! I don't need you to tell me anything! James 2:19 says; you believe that there is one God, you do well: the devils also believe, and they tremble. They may know who He is but they will never see heaven and God's glory Forever and Ever. Here is why I want them to know Jesus, because He changed my life and because of the salvation He offers they do not have to go away to ETERNAL damnation. I need to love them enough to let them hate me for telling them who this man Jesus really is. I have heard things said about family and myself that came through the rumor mill. After circulation, things change A LOT. There have even those who have judged me because of what they see, but it is not always what it might look like. Just because someone says something about me or family, does not mean it is always true when it gets back around. But what do I do? I push them away from me, put up roadblocks, avoid them and even get angry. Truth is the word of God says I can be angry, but I can not allow it to cause me to sin. The Word of God tells us in this same scripture (Ephesians 4:8) to "not let the sun go down on our wrath". To show people the love of God, I have to learn to control my anger and show others how to walk in love. Maybe I should confront them, but I should hear their side before moving on it. Sometimes things just come across wrong and the anger is for nothing. And then there is the racial issue, don't get me wrong, I do love others and try really hard to walk in love to others but how many times have I seen someone walk down the road with their pants down around their ankles, with multiple tattoo's, multiple piercings and thought; be careful...... This is wrong, they should be judged by the standard of "Jesus loves them", black, white, Latino, Jew or gentile. His love for them is so beyond our love for them. Here again, this should not be. I seem to be stuck in first, second, and third John in my reading and devotionals and I am realizing how who I say I am and who I present myself to be are not always the same. I get angry when our volunteers don't want to work with each other because of what I read there in John, I get hurt when friends and family seem to be so far away from us and don't seem to want our fellowship, I don't seem to understand when these same people put up walls and don't let us in even though we care so much about them but now, now I am seeing things in a little different light. I am starting to see where I have put up walls in relationships, where I have been distant concerning family and friends, even where I did not want to work with others who I don't completely agree with. If I am going to love as Christ loves me, then again, I have to die to these things. I do get mad, sometimes really mad at my children, for lots of things, but in the end, I love them unconditionally! Unconditionally, whether or not they hear my side, listen to what is best for them, get angry at me, or me with them. People know they are my children because of the love I have for them in good times and in bad, right or wrong. Others have over the years said they wished that we were their parents, why? Because of the love we have for our own. Is this not what we should be showing those around us? But the problem here is this; the world we live in, the people who do not know Christ intimately as we say we do, are seeing this hypocritical spirit manifesting in all of us and it does not draw to Christ, it says to them that there is no need to accept this Jesus we serve because they already have what we have. I was laughing the other day about someone who I loaned $80.00 dollars to several years back and how they avoided me for many years because of it. I even had someone tell me recently that they avoided me because of owing me $150.00 until they could pay me. Did I ever ask? No and probably would not, so as to keep our relationship secure, but here lies the problem in this; One, I should not have laughed about that person, not around a brother or sister, not around a lost person. We are supposed to, according to the Word of God, lend as if we may never receive it back. This goes for $1.00 or $100,000.00. There are reasons why He tells us to do things the way He says to, and those reasons are for the lost to see something different in us, and because what He tells us, is for our own good! For our good, so we will be able to live peaceably among men and so we can show others who this Jesus we serve really is. There are also things that I have not addressed so as to try to keep relationships alive but what I have done is actually allowed walls to be put up between us. This brings a greater division between us. Unfortunately, others see this and truthfully, it is not Christlike. Even the lost can sense when something is not right between family members. Should not the family of God walk in unity so as to show The Love of Christ? Why am I putting all of this out there for all to read? Why air my so called dirty spiritual laundry? Because I see (not just here but about everywhere I go) the family of God talking about each other, not talking to each other. I see the same people of God telling rumors, hiding from each other, hurting each other, fighting each other, using each other, and so on, but I have to examine myself before I can say anything about anyone else. I need to remember that I am not The Judge, but I will be judged. I am putting this out there so we can all look at ourselves first. I recently found out that because I was hard headed (and hard hearted) several years ago, that I caused repercussions for me and several others that will follow me the rest of the days of my life. Why? Because I just had to be right. Because "I just knew what God had to say about that", because of that I hurt self, and I hurt others beyond repair. It is only because of God's unbelievable love for me and others that those hurt in the process, were forgiving towards me. I hope and pray that if you do see something here that might involve you, that you will forgive me, that you will understand, yes I am human, yes I make mistakes. No excuses. My hearts desire here is not to offend, not to cause even more division and or separation. My hope and prayer is that we move forward from here, to give our enemy no more opportunity to bring confusion and division to the body of Christ. To hopefully help us to start really fulfilling the call of Christ to win the lost. Des talked a lot about being peace makers, well peace makers are not peace keepers. Peace keepers really don't change anything to make things better, they don't confront wrong, they try to explain everything away, peace keepers tend to just try to smooth things over without finding and dealing with the underlying problem but, nothing hardly ever changes for the better. Peace makers seek to make change, they confront the things that need to be changed, the things that are out of whack so to speak, they try to bring things to an order that works, even if it costs them. Peace makers will step up to the plate and sometimes become unpopular so as to bring to light the things that will bring about LASTING peace. We have not been getting along. Yes the body of Christ is out of whack, we are not confronting evil, we are not taking authority over the mess we made. We are not talking to each other, we are hacking ourselves to pieces (bringing division), we are hurting ourselves (after all, we are supposed to be a body), and letting the world around us go to hell. I am convicted, to the core! I am truly convicted. I want to be a peace keeper so I am now, and will be confronting with love and respect, as God leads me. To straighten out wrong relationships in my life from as far back as He leads. All of the recent or current problems that would bring even a hint of division to us as friends, family, and as a body of believers. Everything that Father God shows me that separates us, that brings division, and everything that our enemy uses in my life to make me a hypocrite. Dear Jesus, Please make me a peace maker, not a hypocrite, but a peacemaker, make me one who shines Your Light to others.