Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You Stinking Hypocrite!

Hypocrites, hypocrites everywhere!

This includes my own mirror.

That is, of course, the first place that we each need to acknowledge the reflection of hypocrisy. After turning to the Lord to remove the log from our own eyes, then we see the specks in the eyes of others more clearly. Suddenly what we previously perceived as such an enormous cause for judging others shrinks in our perception.

Certainly there are some monstrous things being perpetrated in the world. But how many of these are actually my responsibility? In a nation where I have a role in the election of those who govern, I do have the obligation to do what I can to be informed. I have an obligation to cry out on behalf of those who are wronged and to cry out for that which is right. But even then, how far does this responsibility extend?

The Lord instructs that my first concern should be regarding my own thoughts, words, and deeds. Then I also am to see to my own family. In this connection I am to judge or discern the Lord’s body so as to be certain that where my household congregates is truly the Lord’s body where His true Communion is. (1 Cor. 11; Matt. 18)

These certainly are sufficient to keep my heart and mind occupied.

But I am not to be like Cain. I am to realize that I am also my brother’s keeper. I am to look beyond myself and my own family and the congregation to which the Holy Spirit gathers us, looking next to those whom I can identify as my brethren in the Lord, and then also to my neighbor. This begins with my prayers to the Lord on their behalf, both generally as in the Our Father, and specifically as I become aware of my neighbor’s personal needs. These prayers for my neighbor will also move me to do what I am able for my neighbor directly. This even extends to issues regarding the city council and eventually even to the vote that I cast for the President of the country.

But when I do these things in honest acknowledgment of all that I observe, I am always back in front of the mirror, being confronted with my own failures, my own sin, and my own hypocrisy, from which I need for the Lord to turn me, directing me again to His grace in Christ. Then, having received his forgiveness I also am empowered to forgive myself. Then I am set free to do the same for everyone else whom I encounter, first forgiving them from my own heart, and then, in that freedom, proclaiming to them God’s forgiveness in Christ.

Imagine what the world would observe if indeed all who professed to believe in Christ actually lived as He has declared. Imagine if this is what the world observed as the way of Christians. Imagine how differently from the current perception even Christians would perceive the Church.

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Mr. Mcgranor said...

Thank you Lord.

Gary Cepek said...

Dear Paul,

"...that the old man be drowned by daily contrition and repentance and die; and that daily the new man arise, as from the dead, to live the presence of The LORD in righteousness and purity, now and forever."

"That the Father's true children grow daily in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

"That is shown us by these words, 'Given and shed for you for the remission of all your sins.' Through these words we receive remission of sins, life, and salvation. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation."

Blessed be the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who mercifully preserves His people with Holy Word and Sacraments that they may walk and live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

Thank you for continuing to admonish and build up the saints.

Gary Cepek