Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Be Ware of Hypocrisy, Repentance Doesn't Look Like Middle Class America

Luke 12:1-3 (ESV)
In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. [2] Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. [3] Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Jesus drew a crowd. He was on his way to Jerusalem, and the people came in droves to hear what he had to say. He starts speaking to his disciples, but so the crowds can hear. I’m sure it was meant for the ears of the Pharisees as much as anyone else. Be ware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy, the term has become synonymous with Pharisee because of Christ’s words here. Today, hypocrisy has become synonymous with the church. I think we have perhaps failed to heed Christ’s warning. We have become what he railed against.
Of course, on the one hand a lot of this is under the whole simul iustus et peccator line. We are sinful, therefore we are hypocrites. Think about your gossip. Think about your dealings with others. There is no one who manages to escape the hypocrisy accusation. No one. Your sin manifests itself in hypocrisy. It does so just as much for the bar fly that refuses to go to church because it is full of hypocrites, as it does for the Baptist who refuses to go to the bar because it is full of sinners.
On the other hand, it is not enough to just say, so we are all hypocrites and act as if it doesn’t matter. No hypocrisy needs to be dealt with when it is brought to light. And it is most awful where it is not recognized at all. Where ever Christianity is turned into a religion of law, hypocrisy results. When it is no longer Christ and him crucified for the sins of the world that is preached, but what you must do to prove to others or yourself that you are a Christian, hypocrisy sets in.
I often wonder about this. Why is it that hypocrisy has become so synonymous with the church? It’s a tough one. Certain sins seem to be singled out in the church at the expense of others. I sometimes wonder how many pastors are as capable of showing the compassion Christ did to the woman at Jacobs well, when it comes to the daughters of their congregation being caught up in the same situation? I know I haven’t handled that in a manner worthy of pride in my own life. Do we know what repentance looks like? We associate it with clean living. I think that is our problem. Repentance does not look like middle class America. It looks like sinners carrying each other, and finding rest in the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the blood that was shed for them.

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