There was really only one thing that Jesus truly hated and that was hypocrisy. But not just any kind of hypocrisy. Jesus couldn’t stand religious hypocrisy. Empty acts of piety that were calculated to further one’s own political and monetary goals. “Ye hypocrites…” Jesus says to the “religious” politicians, “draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” He goes on to define exactly what the perpetual prototypical hypocrite would do in order to further their causes. “In vain they will worship me, but will teach for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt 15:8) Meaning…they’ll call themselves “Christians” without giving two cents about what Jesus actually taught.
Too many “Christians” think they can live their lives however they want without any kind of consequence because they’ve “already been saved.” These same people think they can go to church once or twice a year and make their oblations on Christmas and Easter. They set a Bible on their night stand to make them feel good, and then tell their kids and friends that they read it all the time. They pick their political leaders without any concern or worry about the character of the person they’re electing. They choose their pastors based on the size of the congregation, the skill of the band, and the leniency of the liturgy. The apathy of the parents will be the demise of the children. Millennials who were raised “Christian” are flocking to atheism and agnosticism as they’ve watched the hypocrisy and lack of conviction from their Christian parents.
Being a Christian means so much more than just showing up at a stadium on a Saturday night and “being saved.” You can’t say you’re a Christian…when you have no intention of living a Christlike life, and you can’t be “saved” without a lifelong commitment to actually upholding and defending those Christian principles. People casually cite the two great commandments as the end all be all of their Christian belief system and mode of worship. At a town hall style meeting in Knoxville Iowa, Hillary Clinton recently said after declaring her dedication to Christianity that, “My study of the Bible, my many conversations with people of faith, has led me to believe the most important commandment is to love the Lord with all your might and to love your neighbor as yourself, and that is what I think we are commanded by Christ to do…”
This epitomizes the classic modern day limited understanding of the Bible. It’s a pseudo simplistic way of saying that all I need to do to be a Christian is to love God and to love my neighbor. But how do you go about showing God that you love Him? You do it by loving your neighbor! How do you go about showing your neighbors that you love them? By keeping all of the other commandments found within the Bible! You don’t lie and cheat and steal and bear false witness against your neighbor just to get ahead!
People love to leave out the one verse that follows the two great commandments! “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” This means that you can’t keep the first two great commandments without the application of God’s laws and the teachings of His prophets. But those are just a few ancillary details right? Life’s much easier without those pesky details…isn’t it?
Do the rest of Jesus’s teachings even matter? Or is it cool to just go around quoting John 3:16 and reciting the first and great commandment? (Matt 22:37-39) It’s interesting that one of the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ is repentance and yet the next possible leader of the free world (aside from the aforementioned Hillary Clinton) and a confessed Christian doesn’t see the need to repent. I don’t need to say much about Donald Trump. All you’ve got to do is listen to his own words and admitted actions to determine that this is not someone that would be considered a disciple of Jesus Christ. Give the guy a break people say! He’s just a man! Sure whatever. There’s no humility. No sorrow for past immaturities. No desire to change and be better. But God wants us to repent. He wants this whole nation to repent. He wants Christian’s to repent, and return to their churches and to their scriptures and to their prayers. He wants them to turn off the reality shows and not be so manipulated by charisma, power, and position. God doesn’t care about that stuff. He doesn’t care about towers and money and fame and jets or $12,000 dollar Armani jackets out of a $200,000 dollar wardrobes. (Can you imagine giving a speech about inequality while wearing a jacket that costs more than most people’s cars?) Can there be greater hypocrisy on this earth?
What does it even mean to be a Christian in this country anymore? Because it seems as if there’s a whole lot of this mentality: “Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”
An evangelical pastor friend of mine out of Pennsylvania wrote me an email not too long ago. I think he sums things up pretty good here. He said that at a conference he spoke at, he and many of his associates shared their “grief at the state of our nation.” He continued by sharing that “people keep talking about the tipping point and I feel like perhaps we have passed it. I do not know your political convictions but I am angry at those evangelicals who would not vote for Mitt Romney because he was Mormon. We could have had an honorable man in the White House.”
Sadly…my pastor friend is right, regardless of your political persuasions. Christians who would never vote for Mitt Romney just for being a Mormon are championing people like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the ugliest of circumstances. Christians around the country are rallying behind two of the most morally bankrupt people the U.S. has to offer. “Ye blind guides” says Christ… “which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel…hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt 23)
People forget the imagery of the parable of the ten virgins. He left five of them standing at the door…
People forget that part during the sermon on the mount when Jesus says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
I don’t have any other solutions for the mess we’re in as a nation other than the obvious one staring us right in the face. Return to Christ. Return to church. Stop being mesmerized by the media and it’s figures. Make a stand with goodness, values and morality. Become shining lights in the ever growing darkness. Not Christian contributors to the widespread hypocrisy.