Heart Fraud

Hypocrites in the Church? Yes, and in the lodge and at home.  Don’t hunt through the Church for a hypocrite.  Go home and look in the mirror.  Hypocrites?  Yes.  See that you make the number one less.”  (Billy Sunday)

In many of the circles that I run around with, the issue of homosexuality has come up.  For many of my friends they feel that Christianity has been put it on a shelf and given it the dubious distinction of being  a bigger sin than all others.  I think all of my Christian friends can agree that sin is sin, every single one amounted to a strike of the hammer that nailed Jesus to the cross.   Unlike the other sins, I think that the one born with same-sex attraction has a tougher road than most others.  We all like to justify our wrong behavior and for the homosexual the justification comes on a silver platter with the moniker handed to them by the world that sounds like: “It’s something that you were born with.”  For all of us, the problem lies in the friction that comes about when our wrong behavior meets scripture.  For the non-Christian sinful behavior is another reason why they need Jesus for He alone can save them from the just penalty for their sin,  for the Christian sinful behavior interferes with our fellowship with God and each other as well as making us a poor example of who we are called to be, which are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 19-20).

The world doesn’t need to see a perfect person who is super-human by their example. They need to see a Christian who, when they stumble (and we all do), is willing to go to the One that they sinned against and repent of that behavior.  (Repent in Hebrew means a change of direction and in Greek means changing your mind – I like to marry the two: change your mind’s direction and reconciling our wrongful behavior/thinking to be in unison to being obedient to God’s will which will always be in accordance to what is presented to us in scripture).

Which brings me to ask myself a question:  are there any sinful behaviors in my life that I have my blinders on and I’m unable to recognize?  The answer came so fast that I’m almost afraid to introspect any further.  I try to learn as much about scripture as possible while recognizing that if I were to live to be the age of Methuselah, I would never be able to know all the truths that God has placed in His perfect Word.  But let’s say that I was able to glean every truth placed within the Bible – what a great Christian I would be right?  If that is all I have then the answer is a resounding “No!”  Even a lot of non-Christians have heard 1 Corinthians 13 (usually at a marriage ceremony).  In scripture it’s found in the middle of a passage on Christian service and conduct inside the Body.  My personal application of that chapter for my walk is this:  If I knew verbatim all of scripture and was able to extract from it all the truth contained within but lack the ability to love those that I present it to then I am no more than a noisy windbag.

Have you ever cried while watching a movie?  I know I have!  I let the story drag me in and take hold of me to the point where I’m  emotionally invested in the characters on the screen so that when they hurt, I hurt.  A couple of weeks ago my pastor gave me some cards to hand out at my son’s soccer game that had our church’s information on it and then he had the audacity to hold me accountable for doing it.  I had to be honest with him and let him know that, no, I did not hand them out.  At the time, it was easier to let myself get carried away in watching the fledgling Peles and Mia Hamms on the field than on getting drug into the stories of their parents beside me that might need to know about Christ or need to find a Body where they can grow up and be edified.  It’s hard to get out of the meet-and-greet mentality of church (Hi! How are you doing? – move to the next person and repeat) and get to the more engaging questions where we get to know part of their story and get drug in and be emotionally vested enough to listen to where the Holy Spirit wants me to shed His light.  The application of this can be summed up in two words: love them!

Ahhh, it sounds so easy but sometimes it’s so hard!  I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to substitute the hard for the easy route and call it the same thing.  Loving is sometimes hard to do so the substitution is being nice.  Say “hi!”, smile at them, feign interest in what they’re saying and basically be pleasant then wrap it all up in a package and call it love.  The problem lies in the fact that that version of love is a cheap imitation of the real thing.  That version of love will not make me act.  That version of love is an act!  It’s like many of us do on Sunday – go to Sunday School, sing the songs dutifully during the worship time and then listen to the sermon (and for show – even take notes!).  But once the tires of our car hit the street, it’s me time!  Enough about God – let’s do what I want to do, regardless of what I “learned” at church.  The Bible has a word for such a person – “Pharisee.”  I would call them a heart fraud.