Healing Is in the World, So Why
By Bob Slosser
Jesus and his Father can't stand hypocrisy. Therein
lies much of the world's problem. Therein lies much of my problem,
too. How about you? Think about hypocrisy....falsehood....deceit....showing
off....self concern. The opposite is truthfulness, at all times
in everything. So let's all together say, "Ugh!"
I'm back up near my roots today, looking out over the wooded
Green Mountains. As I've told you ad nauseam, I grew up
in Maine -- or more truthfully I lived from age 10 to 24 in Maine;
you could get some strong debate as to whether I've ever grown
up, in Maine, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia or
anywhere else. But as I look out over the horses, the cows, the
pigs, the sheep, I fantasize over the reserve, integrity, and
decency attributed to New Englanders. I want to be like that.
But, you know what? With television, broad education, and new
levelers like the computer and Internet, people are pretty much
the same around the world today. Hypocrisy and lawlessness run
high. I think it's at the core of our strife, unhappiness, disease,
wars, meanness, hatred and suicide. We aren't honest and pure
in our dealings with God, let alone one another.
A lot of the unequivocal words about hypocrisy are found in some
well known passages of the New Testament, and the subject runs
throughout Holy Scripture. In words leading up to a discussion
of how to pray, Jesus says, "Beware of practicing your piety before
men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have
no reward from your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 6:1, RSV).
Note he didn't say not to be pious before men, but not to do it
in order to be seen.
The next verse says a similar thing: "When you give alms, sound
no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues
and in the streets that they may be praised by men." The
same with praying: "Don't stand and pray in the synagogues and
at the street corners" for the purpose of being "seen by men."
For something other than prayer or alms note Matthew 15:8, where
Jesus quotes Isaiah as having spoken truly: "This people honors
me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do
they worship me, teaching as doctrine the precepts of men." Cast
an eye at the national Episcopal Church, the Presbyterians, the
Methodists, and others for a fascinating display of this. They
waste dreadful time wrestling over the worst issues known to man
-- homosexuality, same-sex marriage (which is practiced here in
Vermont, believe it or not), the "real Jesus," total immersion
in indiscriminate multiculturalism to the scornful degradation
of orthodox Christinaity, and liberal, socialistic politics.
I pray you see in all this rambling God's wholehearted concern
for our hearts, our attitudes, our responses to him -- in everything.
He can't stand hypocrisy!
God doesn't want our prayers, our money, our avalanches of "toys"
and other goods unless we are willing to give our lives to him.
He wants our love and dedication, all of it. His great desire
is for us to respond to him. He gave us himself. He initiated
the way out of man's quagmire. He initiates, we respond. For instance,
he says, "Come, follow me," then he gives us the power to follow
him, and the giving never runs down.
After praying in the Spirit just now, I have this word for the
three young men in Kansas embarking on an Internet venture tomorrow:
"God has given you the way to proceed, but he wants you, all three,
first. You know you can't go forward successfully without him.
People think you're Generation Xers, and you are, but your heart
is ready for tying into eternity, just like the days of earlier
centuries. You must act now. Amen."
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