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Hypocrit! – 2016-11-16

One of the things I hear frequently, is about hypocrites in church. Yup. There are some. In fact, there are hypocrites in many organizations: philanthropic, non profit, education, sports, work place, etc. Some are passionate about what they do, others are wolves in sheeps clothing, looking to fleece someone.

I heard it said that we are all witnesses to our beliefs: some positive, some negative. IE as a Christian, if I cheat and lie, I am a poor testimony to what a Christian is. One speaker went so far as to say, “if you aren’t going to live life as a Christian, don’t say you are – you’re giving Christianity a bad name.”

Ah, what to do. We all fail, we are, after all human. Doesn’t the Bible also say “Truth will set you free?” Nothing like owning it, seeking forgiveness, and doing an about face.

But what about the other hypocrites? Let’s face it, many are out to deceive and defraud. We are admonished to “judge not, lest you be judged.” Does that mean I need to believe everything I hear? I can live life without exercising judgment, but isn’t that also another name for “fool?” Judgment is not bad, but we have made it sound bad. We make it sound like condemnation of an individual or their character. Isn’t one of our goals in raising children to teach them to judge correctly? To exercise good judgment? To judge the consequences of their actions?

Ok. since that word – judge – evokes so much emotion, how about if we use “fruit inspector?” Yup. Some of my fruit trees produced wonderful fruit, others, I let the fruit fall to the ground – it was bitter. The same is true with people, sometimes/some people produce sweet fruit, others bitter fruit. We can be selective in what we eat. Does that make us judgmental? Selective is a much more gentle word, isn’t it 😉

We hear many things, (shock), even on Christian programs, that is questionable. I think of the Bereans. Luke commends the Bereans because they don’t blindly believe what they hear, but test it against God’s word.

Who is your enemy? Is it really everyone who has a different opinion/method than you? Are you blindly chasing dragons? Are you backstabbing your fellow sojourners? Wow, that sounds a lot like king of the hill… pride… “I am the all-knowing, all-deserving… if you don’t do it my way, YOU ARE WRONG!”.

What if the enemy is us? What if the enemy is our own pride? What if we didn’t spend our time condemning those who are different, but focused on living our lives as a mirror to our beliefs? What if we extended a hand up to those who fall instead of crushing them under our heel? What if we examine our own beliefs and attitudes instead of the attitudes and beliefs of others? We are but a breath in this world. We do not have the power to change others, only ourselves… AND… that is a lifetime job! If we had the power to changes others, wouldn’t we have to change ourselves first so as not to corrupt them with our imperfect presence?

Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:15-20