February 13, 2008

The hypocritical spirit

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Matthew 7:1


As I did my quiet time, God led me to Matthew 7:3-5. It goes hand in hand with what He brought to me Monday and so I’m going to take that post even further. I feel like my eyes have been opened and I’m seeing what the world sees when they look at Christians. We are often referred to as hypocrites by the world and though I feel like this word is often abused, there is truth in its description of those with in the church.

What is a hypocrite? According to the dictionary a hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess. We have a tendency to call anyone who sins a hypocrite instead of what we actually are and that is a sinner. Many churches have hypocrites leading, serving and attending but for the most part, a church is made of up sinners who are desiring to walk with the Lord and glorify Him. There are many with in the church who claim to walk and live as followers of Jesus Christ and then as Sunday passes they enter back into the world walking as the world. There are those who claim to have high moral standards and who can quote scripture from the Bible as if they study it every day pretending to be someone they are not in order to impress or mislead those they work with or attend church with. They are the first to point out the mistakes of others and are quick to judge. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5

We often misuse this passage of scripture. We love to quote “judge or you will be judged” not really understanding its meaning. We are not to tolerate sin and as we discussed last week in the posting on Rebuke, we should approach someone when they are caught in sin with a spirit of love and humbleness recognizing that we are all found equal before a Holy God. It should be done out of love and not judgment. It should not be for self-righteous reasons but out of a desire to restore one’s walk with the Lord as well as our own love for God. These verses are talking about an unforgiving condemnation of someone done with a vindictive spirit that is self-righteous and always looking to uncover the sins or mistakes of others while overlooking our very own sin. It’s hypocritical and Jesus states that fact in the passage.

Jesus makes it clear that judgmental and unforgiving people can not be forgiven by God. (Matthew 6:14-15 and 6:23-35) When we judge others and do not find forgiveness then that is how we too are judged by God. (Luke 6:38) It is also how we in turn will be treated by other people when we have done wrong. We can not expect grace and mercy if we ourselves can not offer it to others. As we look at the effects of an unforgiving and judgmental spirit we see that when we are caught up in it’s destructive ways we usually assume that other people are just as vindictive and self-righteous and this puts us under quite a lot of pressure to live up to these unforgiving expectations.

We must remember that we all are sinners saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. We can no longer stand in judgment of those around us because we each played a part in putting Christ upon that cross. He died for every one of us because of every sin we commit and have committed whether it be murder, gossip, adultery, lying, stealing, cheating,insecurities, fear and the list goes on. We must love and forgive those that have wronged us or live differently than us so that this world will not be able to label Him and Christians as the hypocrite they so want us all to be seen as. We owe Christ more than we will ever be able to repay Him and it is our job while here to glorify Him and bring honor to His name.

"Father, I love you and thank you for the sacrifice you made for every one of our sins. I pray that my spirit not be one of judgment but one of mercy and grace. I pray that you fill me full with your presence so that I may radiate your love and compassion to a world that needs you. I pray that everyday my speech will mimic the life I live so that those who meet me will see the reflection of You in my life. May I wake every morning with a hunger to know you more and to glorify you in all I do. Amen"

Written by Nicole

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