There are so many beautiful parts of Christianity. In fact, when I take a moment to marvel over God’s goodness, I typically find myself at a loss for words regarding how much I have to be grateful for, and I’m not referring to tangible items, either. I’m referring to grace, mercy, forgiveness, love and so much more. His gifts are endless, unconditional and perfect.
I love being a Christian, and I am humbled by faith. Christianity, among its many wonderful facets, also encourages believers to examine their lives and be onto others as Christ. Unfortunately, however, there is an element of hypocrisy among some Christians, as some are under the impression that they are permitted to gossip, condemn or pass judgment. Christianity, in the eyes of those types of folks, is some sort of permission slip to sit on the throne of judgment over people, and this is certainly one aspect of Christianity that God has not and will not encourage His followers to do on His behalf.
Recently, Pope Francis addressed his first General Audience of 2019 and said, “How many times do we see the scandal of those people who go to church, and are there all day or go every day, and then they live hating others or talking badly about people. This is a scandal.” Pope Francis asserted that it is better to be an atheist than a churchgoing Christian who hates other people.
The reality is, we have all sinned and will continue to sin and we will continue to fall short of God’s Glory, “yet we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). When a Christian passes judgment or behaves hypocritically, they reject the message of the Gospel and regress on the path to spiritual maturation. Worse, they do not encourage people to know and learn His Word.
The Pope‘s statement was direct and bold and holds a great deal of unapologetic truth.
Attending church, sitting in a pew and spending time within the four walls of a parish does not mean a person is suddenly provided a permission slip to judge others and dodge Christian values. Sadly, some people leave church and are not humbled by His words; instead, they are exalted with a false sense of power and position.
Christianity is dependent on Jesus, so it goes without saying that judging others and treating people unkindly disproves the Christian faith. The Bible teaches many lessons about growth and humility. In fact, Christian life is largely based on those principals. As we grow in Christ, the hope is that we enlarge our spiritual territory and broaden our span of wisdom and, in turn, share that wisdom with others. To grow properly, we must not be stifled by hypocritical tendencies or behaviors. Instead, we must allow Christ to rule our choices and emotions. When love becomes the reason behind our reasoning, the inclination to judge and move in unChristian-like ways will lessen. Fight the urge to be a hypocrite. In fact, let the Holy Spirit fight for you. The Lord is within you. You will not fail (Psalm 46:5).
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another“ (John 13:35).