Hypocrisy and Forgiveness

    I went into the bank the other day and was struck by the vault being left wide open and unattended, while I was filling out a deposit slip with a pen that was chained to the counter. Does that seem ironic to you? I’m guilty of those little hypocritical gestures….such as ordering a burger, fries, and then a DIET Coke–hahaha. A friend of mine used to leave his new $30,000+ car in the driveway, because his $1,000 camper was taking up the garage space. I could go on and on with things that we do that contradict other things we do. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s not.
    Like the guy who said he was a Christian and told a church friend, “I will never forgive you for that.”
    Jesus’ harshest words addressed these very things. I don’t know that he would have taken issue with the diet coke and hamburger thing, but when it came to our relationship with him and how it relates to others, he pretty much said, “Live what you say you believe!” “If you’ve been forgiven, you’ll be eager to forgive.”
    Are you?
    John wrote, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9–11 ESV). The word for hate is a Greek word that means to disregard, slight, resent. In other words, you can’t be walking with the Lord and at the same time have resentment towards another Christian.
    I know, there’s a bit of hypocrisy in all of us. None of us can claim absolute consistency. But this is pretty serious. Jesus compared religious hypocrites to tombs that were whitewashed on the outside but filled with decaying corpses on the inside. He told his followers to not bother offering sacrifices at the temple (their acts of worship) until you resolve issues between yourself and your brothers and sisters. How we are with each other is a big deal to Him!
    I thought of this the other day seeing Bible verses and spiritual proclamations posted on Facebook by someone I know has ongoing resentment towards other believers. The epitome of Christian faith is based on our entering into God’s forgiveness, and thereby passing it on to others. John was pretty straightforward: we’re not in fellowship with God if we are out of fellowship with His other children.
    I’ll probably keep ordering a diet coke to wash down my greasy burger and fries. But I pray to 
the Lord that I do not blaspheme his forgiveness with an unwillingness to pass it on to others, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ.
    Have you been forgiven? How apparent is that?

2 Responses to Hypocrisy and Forgiveness

  1. joanneteacher71 December 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    I was wondering what your perspective is on this question or should I say statement. I believe I have forgiven the ones whom I feel have wronged me. I do so because God says I should and it makes me feel better inside, I do not like feeling hatred or hurt all the time. I forgive but I do not forget (completely), certain people have harmed me more than once, many times, I do not trust them, their actions do not show true sorrow. Is it wrong to not forget? I do not walk around reminding them, but I can not trust them.

  2. Scott Ziegler July 13, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I'm sorry I didn't see this comment/question when it was written. To answer your question, there is a difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is something we give, it cannot be earned. But trust is something that is earned. If a man, for example, cheats on his wife, and she forgives him. It will take time for him to regain her trust. And if he is truly repentant, he will understand that and work to regain her trust. If, however, he never repents, the marriage may not be restored, but she is still obligated to forgive…in that sense, to let it go. We can forgive people without necessarily trusting them again, immediately. But if they are repentant, we should give them the opportunity to regain that trust.For a more involved understanding of forgiveness, you may want to listen to this sermon: http://www.thebridgedp.org/content.cfm?id=2132&download_id=129#attached_content

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