I Love Jesus But Hate Hypocrisy
There is considerable distance between talking about following Jesus and actually following him. If you have ever wondered why our wider culture is so wary of religious-type people, so disinterested in the Christian faith, so skeptical of churches, this is an essential distinction for us to wrap your head around.
Nowadays, everybody in the US has access to bible and knows what Jesus was about. And because everyone knows what Jesus was about, non-Christians are left scratching their heads as to why those who claim to follow Jesus bear so little resemblance to him.
The early church community in Ephesus struggled with a similar problem. In the opening of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, we learn that a situation had arisen in which some of the community’s leaders have taken to “meaningless discussions and speculations.” Because they were wasting the community’s time on things that don’t matter, the people weren’t growing. They weren’t being changed. Their capacity to follow and be like Jesus is not being expanded.
According to Paul, that doesn’t have to be the case! His advice is simple: whenever your community gets together, you just need to focus on what matters most.
What matters most? Love! Specifically love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
If our modern communities spend our time together focusing on love like that, we will grow, we will change, and our capacity to actually follow Jesus will expand.
If we if get to that point, when the wider culture looks at us, no longer will they see just a bunch of hypocrites who have missed the point of the guy they claim to follow. Instead, they’ll see is a community of people who have once and for all bridged that great divide are actually following Jesus.