Do as I say not as I do, these were the thoughts that ran through my head this morning as I poured my coffee.
I felt the full weight of my own hypocrisy as I secretly scarfed down the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls that I told my 2 year old he could not have for breakfast.
But then again, maybe I’m in good company because this is what seems to be happening throughout the Bible. Last week we looked at this idea through the lens of the Old Testament so I figured we’d get a bit more modern and carry this conversation into the New Testament.
Here’s a short list of teachings about how Christians (people following Christ, who is God) have been instructed to live.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
This next one is the trifecta of non judgement and one that I think few if any can ever actually live up to.
Luke 6 :37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
I mean Judgement, condemnation, and forgiveness all tackled in one short verse that’s incredible.
This is just a few things that followers of Christ have been instructed to do. Forgive others, don’t judge, and don’t condemn. And we’re told that this is a better way to live which I completely agree that it is a better way to live. If I could actually do this my life would be better and I would be making the world a better place.
But Like my son’s father who ate the Swiss Cake Roll after he gave instructions about why the son could not have the Swiss Cake Roll for breakfast, we see the heavenly father eating a metaphorical Swiss Cake Roll.
Check this out…..
2 Peter 3:7 – By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
John 9:38 – 39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
I will interject here that in this John passage the judgment he’s talking about is actually for the religious people which is really interest, but it’s judgment none the less.
2 Peter 2:4+9 – For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; ….9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.
So in the first set of verses we are given the instructions to forgive, not judge, and not condemn but in the second set of verses the same God who gave the instruction to forgive, not judge, and not condemn is not forgiving, is judging, and is condemning.
Do as I say Not as I do – God.
Maybe this is why so many people find the Bible so difficult to swallow? Especially when most Christians have been taught to believe that the Bible contains no errors or contradictions and then spread the message of the inerrant and irrefutable word of God.
So what are we to do?
Do we just through in the towel because the Bible might not be what we were taught?
Do we call it quits on our faith because after thousands of years of oral traditions, 3 different languages, 40 different authors, God knows how many number of scribes, and endless ways scripture has been misunderstood or mishandled or misread, seems to be off at times?
The Bible is more exciting and relevant than ever.
This is not an occasion to abandon all hope, this is an occasion to re-think to re-discovery and to re-engage this incredible book that can absolutely change your life.
There is a re-awakening that is happening in our world.
It will not be easy and it is not for the faint of heart but there are major shifts that are taking place in modern American Christianity.
The big question is will the Church devour those who are trying to take the herd in a different direction or will it embrace that new direction?
When you read and understand the Bible from a 30,000 ft view things become a bit more clear. You’re less concerned about some of the minuscule details that the Church and Christians have been arguing over for centuries.
You become more concerned with the big picture, with the upper level narrative. You see that there is a progression and a movement. When you understand that this whole thing is going somewhere, it’s dynamic not static, it sets you free from the petty.
Most of what Christians focus on is the petty.
Can I justify eating the Swiss Cake Roll for breakfast? I can not.
Do I love my son despite my inconsistency? I do.
Do I need the Bible to be with out error to believe it is inspired? I do not.
Do I believe there is a God who is love even if people misrepresent him? I do.
Do I believe there is a need to re-examine some major tenants of the Christian faith? I do.
Do I believe I have all the Answers? I do not.
Do I believe we will ever have all the answers? I do not.
If I could text God I think our conversation would go like this….
me: Hey God
God: Hey Seth
me: Soooo…. how are we doing?
God: With what?
me: How are we doing with getting it right?
God: Getting it right?
me: Ya, like are we close with how we understand things like the Bible, and you, and hell, and heaven, and who’s in, and ect. IDK I’m just saying.
me: ok so if you could describe your thoughts on how we’re doing with one emoji what would it be?
God: Ok fine.
God: are you ready?
me: Yes please.
All this to say, I think most Christians are going to be quite shocked about how vast and inclusive God actually is. Much of what is attributed to the wrath and judgment of God comes from our own idolatry of wrath and attributing the consequences of our mistakes to the vengeance of God but that’s a whole other post….. ha ….. maybe someday.