We all know that one Christian. They are the first to church and the last to leave. They are always talking about how often they tithe and how much they sacrifice for God. They correct every curse word and condemn every drop of alcohol consumed. But then, when they are safe and sound in their own home, browsing Facebook is what takes the place of reading their bible. And they’re not just browsing, they’re commenting on people's walls telling them their content isn’t godly enough or they are wrong for taking pictures of themselves holding a glass of wine--all the while THEY are holding their own glass of wine, cursing under their breath at the people on Facebook who have what they don’t. The other type we all know is the Christian with absolutely no moral authority to give any word of wisdom. They know parts of the bible, and it’s just enough to make people feel small, not spiritual enough, or like their life isn’t as put together as the Christian telling them what they should and shouldn’t do. It’s your classic overcompensation scenario. This is not every Christian, but it's all too common. It’s a constant game of who-can-out-Christian-the-other-Christians. It’s a competition. No trust or relationships can form from that--division is the only outcome and it’s followed by resentment. They are the first to point fingers, the first to rejoice when you’re down, the first to say “I told you so”. There’s almost no grace or compassion or understanding. The funny thing they don’t realize, though, or won’t admit, is that WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT. We are all sinners who are going to Heaven because we chose to accept Jesus into our hearts. Literally no one should be keeping score. God doesn’t even keep score! I mean, yes, we will all be judged by Him one day, but you know what I mean. He loves us all the same. There is no way to be a “better” Christian in God’s eyes. As believers, we are all His children.
I am currently reading Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (review coming soon!), and at one point in the book Christian, the main character, meets a man named Talkative on his journey to the Celestial City. Talkative the guy who goes about town talking about how great of a Christ-follower he is and how everyone should listen to him. However, he can’t quote the bible to save his life (literally ha!). The moment that Faithful, a man that is accompanying Christian on his journey for a bit, confronts him with scripture that contradicts Talkative’s “walk,” Talkative removes himself from Faithful because he could not argue with him any further. There was nothing left to be said because Faithful had made his point and he was right. Instead of admitting to his facade, Talkative tries to make Faithful feel small and incapable of having an agreeable conversation. It’s so sad that this is how some Christians deal with their own convictions. They are so obsessed with how their walk with God looks to others that they don’t even realize that their walk is almost nonexistent. Their walk becomes their god. They idolize how well THEY are doing. They think they can earn something. The fact is, though, that there’s nothing to earn. God has already given it all to us. It’s up to us to accept it. One of my favorite passages of scripture in the bible is 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV):
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have
become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I
could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my
goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it
profits me nothing.”
Wow. This passage is equal parts inspiring and incredibly convicting. If there is no love in what we do for the Lord we are comparable to mere, annoying, useless noise. NOISE. No one wants to be thought of as just noise. When I read that for the first time, my jaw dropped. It put a lot of things into perspective. So many Christians are just noise. They have enough faith to move mountains, they have the power of prophecy, they tithe every week, they give to charities, etc, but they do not have love for God’s people. They do it for themselves. They boast about how much they do “for the Lord,” but where is their fruit?
This is a subject that gets talked about a lot in bitterness. I used to be that person. I can say with certainty that I am no longer angry or resentful towards the Christians who have intentionally hurt me and my family. But just because I have forgiven them does not mean that the issue is no longer existing. I am writing on this subject to remind others (and myself) to NOT be this Christian. Do not be someone who walks around with your head held high because you are farther along in your walk than others, or that you give more than others, or that you follow God better than others. THIS IS NOT A CONTEST.
In Matthew 23:25, Jesus scolded the Pharisees, saying “woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.” And honestly, Jesus just keeps going and going and going and it’s pretty intense. Just constant scolding. But reading Jesus’ words and picturing him in action as he’s unleashing his holy power on the Pharisees is very cool. He is completely exposing them and their intentions. My point here is, first, don’t mess with Jesus. He sees you. He sees your heart. Second, Pharisees have been around since the bible days and they were just as bad, if not worse than the Pharisees you see in church today. Sadly they aren't going anywhere either. And third, check yourself. Are you a Pharisee? Are you quick to tell someone when they're wrong right after you’ve just committed the same sin? Do you preach one way and live another? We are humans and we can be, and probably have been, a Pharisee at one point or another, and some people are full-time and don’t even realize it. So, what do you do when you’re the Pharisee? You ask God to change your heart. You humble yourself to Him, recommit your life to Him, and you start reading his word asap. What do you do when you are friends with a Pharisee, or you seem to be surrounded by them at church? You pray that the Lord infiltrates and gives them opportunities for their heart to softened. You pray that they would be blessed and protected. You love them. You treat them with kindness and respect. You do your best to act like Jesus. That's what you do when you are walking the Word vs. talking the Word.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any comments, questions or experiences you'd like to share on this subject (or anything!) please don't hesitate to send them my way either by email or Drop Me A Line in my "About Me" section :)
Sincerely + with love,