“These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Mark 7:6)
A number of years ago I was visiting a friend in the hospital. She was having open-heart surgery. Another friend of mine was there, as well, with his wife. His wife said, “Nick, I used to work for one of your church members.” “Really?”, I replied. “Who was it?” She told me their name which I easily recognized as a leader in our church.
She went on to say, “I quit just last Friday.” I asked why.
I wish I hadn’t.
She began to describe how hateful this person had been to her. The more she shared, the more I could see how deeply this church member had hurt her, and the more my stomach began to feel sick. I was at a loss for words. There was this awkward, thick silence hanging in the room.
This woman did not attend church anywhere. Neither did the other friends and family members who were standing in the room.
And they listened to every word.
The atheistic philosopher, Friederich Nietsche, was once asked what made him so negative toward Christians. He replied, “I would believe in their Savior if they looked a more like people who have been saved.”
The truth is we are being watched by a curious, lost world that questions if we actually believe what’s on our Christian T-Shirts, bumper stickers, and church marquis. They’re watching how we treat the trainee at Wal-Mart who just can’t seem to work fast enough, what we rent at the video store, and how we respond when we don’t get our way.
Describing the hypocrites of the early first century, Jesus said, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Mark 7:6)
The lesson of hypocrisy is an old one. But I re-learned it all over again – painfully – that morning during a visit with a friend in the hospital.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick