Outside Looking In

The church is full of hypocrites!

Ever felt that way? Ever heard someone use it as an excuse for avoiding Christianity? Yeah, me, too. Both.

Nothing new about hypocrisy—it’s been around forever. You remember the Pharisees. Jesus said they strained out a gnat but swallowed a camel. (Matt 23:24) In other words, they majored on the minor.

hiding behind a fake smile

hiding behind a fake smile

Pharisees are alive and kicking today. Especially kicking. They’re the ones who live narrow, legalistic lives and want everybody else to do the same. They don’t have a revelation of grace. Follow all the rules, work hard for Him (not necessarily with Him), and maybe God will be pleased.


I’m not saying to be “loosey-goosey” and declare every action acceptable. It’s not. What I am saying is that we need to follow the commandments as Jesus did. Love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (a tall order!) and love our neighbors as ourselves. Treat others with the grace God has shown you, whether they are in the family of God or not.

Let them know you are a servant of God. Live the life He has called you to live. Speak up when He tells you to. Declare His goodness and what He has done for you and of what He wants to do for them. Don’t tell them how bad they are. Inside, they already know, even if they deny it. Don’t tell them about their sin until your relationship develops to the point where you can honestly say, “I love you. It hurts me when you hurt yourself by doing this.” That’s love in action.

They won’t be able to argue with your love. God will speak through your grace-filled life and words, warming a cold heart. cross in sunlight

I know personally that God can even reach someone who has rejected Him until the last millisecond of life. That tiny space between life and death is a place of grace.

How about people who die in a coma without professing belief in Jesus? I worked with a doctor who was caught between her concern for her semi-conscious, dying patient and his religious family. They refused to allow him sufficient pain medication until they heard him accept Jesus. Where was faith and grace?

I ran across an article that posed this question:

“Quite often people preach the gospel as if everyone were going to hell unless they made a conscious decision for Christ. That doesn’t strike me as good news, exactly, but this passage has me wondering. Could it be (and I say this as a thought exercise for you) that because of Jesus’ love and His work on the cross, everyone is going to heaven unless they deliberately choose otherwise? I’d like to point out that it would solve the problems of infant deaths and people who never hear the gospel.

I venture this not as a doctrinal pronouncement, but just as a question to provoke your thoughts and help you develop your theological muscles.” (Copyright ©1995-2013 by the Rev. Kenneth W. Collins. Reprinted with permission.)

So, grace or judgment? Works or faith?

How well do we love?balancing scale

part 2 of a 3 part series

Part 1|Inside Looking Out

Part 3| Inside Looking Around

all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net