But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
Oh the tension of the Gospel. Let me give you the context of why I'm writing it.
One of my favorite (sarcasm) things to do is to listen to Christian's rant. Hahaha. Funny because I'm preparing to rant to you right now--which further shows how easy it is to be hypocritical, but more on that later!
But again, one of my favorite things to do is hear Christian's rant. Sometimes we have good points. And sometimes we don't. But some of my favorite ones in particular are the Facebook posts that are ripping into the "hypocrites" of the churches they attend. Now, don't get me wrong. There's a time to rebuke the believers, but on Facebook? On Twitter?
Is that even biblical? Is that how biblical rebuke look like? And maybe I haven't heard enough testimonies of Facebook convictions leading to transformed hearts...so maybe that's why I don't have the faith in that method. But here are my thoughts.
The title of this blog is "Does Jesus Love Hypocrites Too?"
He does. Doesn't he? Well, judging by the text above, it probably doesn't sound like it He still loves them. Sounds like Jesus is calling out evil and taking names. But....who was he talking to in the text? And what were they doing?
Was he talking to the people who were struggling with addictions and sins that aren't common? No...he was speaking to the ones condemning the people for breaking the religious laws.
And as I've been reading and digging and working to understand the Gospel, I'm finding that any other "gospel" that is preached is really starting to work my heart in a bad way. Like I get legitimately frustrated when I see this happening. That Christians are hanging over believers and/or unbelievers heads this craziness of "you shouldn't be drinking, dressing like this, acting like this" but they never connect it to the Gospel. And I know their intentions are right and honest, but what they don't realize is that they are communicating this:
"Hey, God is not accepting your lifestyle. So clean it up and get right with God."
Which is not the Gospel at all. God doesn't tolerate sin. But He's slow to anger and able to receive us and invite us into fellowship with Him, and then in return of experiencing His love we pursue holiness. You're not going to clean yourself up without being received into God's fellowship. Not some, "give up these things and you'll be a Christian, who are good and pleasing in the Lord's sight". And that's how we communicate it. Because here's what you can bank on. If you rebuke and pray how the Bible suggests we do so, and they respond with bitterness or resentment or whatever---chances are they were not saved anyway.
Scary thought huh? Perhaps some of the people we call out as being hypocrites aren't even born again repented believers?
Will this change your approach? Will this not emphasize how important it is to share the greatest love story with this person because again, here's what I'm discovering. The Gospel exposes all things. It exposes the hypocrites, the sinners, and the believers. It aligns the believers back to their Lord. It moves the sinners to coming to repentance. And it exposes the people that many of us call hypocrites that have only committed to the Christian lifestyle, and not the Christ.
So Jesus loves those that we call hypocrites----and actually he's calling you the hypocrite. Do you not remember how you received your righteousness? It was not because you let go of whatever you're holding someone else too. It was not because you gave up and went without and have never tasted, sipped, smoked, been, wherever and whatever the people you're calling out have been doing. Do you not remember how you received your righteousness? It was all because of Jesus.
The Gospel invites them in. And we must as well. Invite them in, and have you forgotten how God wooed you into obeying Him? He received you. He accepted you. He didn't condemn you. And then....He convicted you...He began to change you. Do the same for people.
Honestly and sincerely. I applaud you for your stance of holiness and truth and the right way. But be careful that you don't become like the hypocrites Jesus was talking to. The ones who forgot their righteousness comes from Him. We can't forget that, because we must deal with the lost on that first. Let's begin to biblically define sin and not just see sin as frowned upon actions. But the biblical definition of sin, how it defines it as a fruit of a sinful heart and nature that causes us to be rebellious, enemies of God, warring against His authority and rule, wanting our own ways, but Jesus redeemed and saved us from this wrath piling up against us.
Jesus invited us in. He didn't condemn. So you can't either. And you shouldn't. I'll close with this verse.
Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Galatians 3:2
Let's be careful not to shut the kingdom of heaven down because we're holding people to a standard that they honestly don't have to live up to unless they have truly received Jesus from responding to the Gospel. So let that be your starting point. Considering it is the basis of our faith, it's a solid starting point.
Good day my friends.