May. 7, 2019

Just do it...

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” Romans 7:15-17

I realize I’m probably going to upset some people during this blog. Please consider this my disclaimer: It is not my intent to offend, but it is a reminder that I must remain true to myself by speaking as I feel spoken to by the Holy Spirit.

As I work with unchurched people, the word “hypocrite” comes up so often it’s very frustrating. Being a hypocrite is nothing new. I’ve actually tried it out myself <wink>. It’s also an age-old excuse people use to not go to church. Some claim everyone there is a hypocrite. I’m always tempted to ask, “Everyone? Every single one of them?” I understand that the person claiming church people are hypocrites has been hurt by church people somewhere in their life. There is no value in debating the issue.

We are all hypocrites. All of us. We don’t have to attend church to fall into the category.

Paul put it this way (see the above verse), “The things I want to do, I do not do; the things I do not want to do, I do.” It’s a battle between human nature and Godly choices.  It’s a battle that wages on in the spirit world all the time, every day, in everyone.  It really has nothing to do with church attendance.

It seems to me that, in these days of confusion and conflict, we want to forgive some while condemning others. It is most apparent in our politics. When our choice is someone far from being moral or lacks integrity, we embrace hypocrisy. Yet, we attack others that don’t do things the way we want them done or don’t fall under a flag that we choose to carry. We want to point our fingers at other people and talk about what’s wrong in their lives instead of truly examining what’s going on within our own hearts.  (Please notice I said, “we.” As with Paul, I often miss the mark.)

After all, isn’t that exactly what I’m doing now? Let’s be honest, all of us have the potential to be a hypocrite and to display hypocrisy. All of us fall short of God‘s glory. Some of us try to learn more about God’s glory by attending church. I am aware there are other people who feel they can continue their spiritual growth and claim Christianity without attending a church. Guess what? Christ allows you that freedom.

The “law” Paul refers to in these passages is God’s word – the bible. That’s our instruction book. If we read it, it should reveal our personal sin; not just point out everyone else’s. Personally, I’ve never been disciplined enough to sing praises on a regular basis by myself, worship on my own often enough, or study the bible alone while I learn from other people.

I’m asking and encouraging us to at least be willing to gather together, as the Bible instructs, with other Christians. Whether you think alike or not; whether they are perfect or not; whether we feel like it or not; whether we prefer to sleep late or not; regardless of whether we like the music they’re playing or not; despite liking everyone sitting around me or not. Whether the building is too hot or too cold; too new or too old; the pastor is too weak or too bold – might I suggest…JUST GO!