“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” Matthew 23:24
Are we principled people? Do we apply the same standards equally to those we agree with and those we don’t? Are we outraged by the sins we see in others but forgiving of the sins we see in those a little closer to home? Do we show the same amount of grace to everyone regardless of their point of view?
The Pharisees were the religious leaders of their time. They were highly respected in their communities. They were the arbiters of truth, integrity, and holiness.
Each time they turned a blind eye to the moral wrongdoings of those they favored… or curried favor from, they moved further and further away from God’s will. They never “crossed the line” because it was within their power to draw the line wherever they saw fit.
They protected their consciences and reputations by keeping the focus on the sins they saw in others while discreetly minimizing or justifying their own.
It’s easy to cry “foul!” when we see the wrongs of others. It’s human nature to want to excuse those we agree with or perceive to be on “our side”. Our political landscape is littered with poorly placed blame and self-serving excuses and justifications. Yes, you and me too. We all play a part in this. Whether we’re screaming at the news anchors, commenting on YouTube or posting on social media.
Outrage is to be expected when we watch or read about the attitudes and behaviors we see in our politicians and pundits. How can we avoid it? Seriously!
But if we aren’t as upset by the wrongs when we or those we support are the ones committing it – we are hypocrites. Just like the Pharisees. Either call it out or don’t. But don’t be a hypocrite.
We cannot call ourselves principled people unless we are consistent in what we support or condemn …no matter who it is that’s done it.
Those who are quick to condemn their political “enemy” while sugar-coating the wrongs done on their side of the aisle only do further damage to our increasingly threadbare social fabric.
But it’s so much worse when this is done by a Christian. SO MUCH WORSE.
We are the people of God. Now more than any other time we must rise up and show ourselves to be worthy of being called so. We must not be like the Pharisees.
There has never been another time in America where Christianity is so scrutinized and criticized. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. Don’t hand our critics another reason to undermine our worldview and call us frauds.
It’s sad but true. We are divided nationally. Separated by politics, ideology, religion, and irreligion. There is no shortage of people scrutinizing and condemning the actions of others and not nearly enough who will judge their own by the same standards.
Do you swallow a camel when your political party does something wrong and strain out a gnat when the wrong is on the other side?
Not only should we Christians be different, but we MUST be different.
We are to be Peacemakers. We are to be fishers of men. Has there EVER been another time when it mattered more than it does today? What are we using for bait?
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27
Practice the tenets of Love. Be patient. Be kind. Don’t be rude. Delight yourself when the truth wins out EVEN WHEN that truth doesn’t bode well for your personal gain or political party.
Let me close with this:
When God decided to destroy Sodom, Abraham beseeched him, ” Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will You then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Be righteous. Please.
In His love and service,