I was driving today, saw a truck that reminded me of a man I worked for years ago. Hard, physical labor, didn’t pay great, but I was young and didn’t worry too much on that. I thought I was learning a good trade and could use the skills later in life. Fortunately, I did gain some skills, but the trade, well, not one I wished to continue. Now, this man was a Christian. Everyone knew it, because he told them. No problem there, but he was near boisterous and pushy with it. We all know folks like that, trying too hard to show everybody something. Well, I figured that was his way, so again, no worries. He would witness to a lot of people and lead people to the Lord, so GREAT. He was somewhat of a lay minister and would preach sometimes as well. The conditional part was that to most that saw him, on the surface he was a great Christian. But, that only went so far with him. He didn’t run around at the bars, he didn’t rob banks, he didn’t beat up on anyone or any other ways that some do that profess to be Christians. No, what he did, was in many ways worse. Most of those that are really bad during the week, but are in church every Sunday don’t gloat about their Christianity. What he would do, if someone slighted him, even a tiny bit, or if he thought they may have, just suspected but did not know, he would chastise them directly if he knew them well enough and if he knew them really well, he would be verbally abusive. I saw him say some vile things to people, family, close friends (who did not remain friends long after seeing his behavior,) or employees. If no one was around to see him behave like that. If others were around, he would hold his tongue and when in a less public area, he would then berate whoever he felt deserved his wrath. If, because of business, he did not feel he could confront the person, he would just talk terrible about them any chance he could. If he had an overdue outstanding bill and he was contacted about payment he would often try to browbeat the creditor and if he was not able to do that, as soon as he was off the phone he would swear he will never do business with that person again. If a client, customer, however you refer to those he had contracted a project with (and collected 50% down when contract signed) called and asked when he was going to start or finish a job, he would start to treat them the same way. Either directly, or would complain and complain afterwards. Then, when he had been able to have his say and try to shame the other person, he would then start talking about Christ again. Now, it doesn’t take many times seeing this behavior to realize that he was only willing to live part way for God. Oh, he made some pretty big donations to the church, and made sure many people knew about it when he did so. He would make sure everyone was aware of any good thing he did for others. Definitely doing works for the benefit of himself. If he didn’t like something the pastor said, something that made him feel conviction, he would shake the pastors hand and tell them good sermon and then talk all week about how the pastor was a terrible person, a horrible preacher and he was never going to donate to that church again. But, the next Sunday, there he was, dressed up and making sure to glad hand the preacher, saying he sure hoped this sermon was as good as the last one. Again, becoming Christian with conditions, wearing his cloak of righteousness when it benefited him in some manner. Unfortunately, people eventually saw through his actions, words and behavior. His testimony lost credibility, he lost family and friends due to his actions. Still, he never admitted to any fault. He criticized those that called him out for his behavior, after he either hung up the phone or walked away, at the first hint of any criticism. The same behavior he used with others was not acceptable to him.
I see a similar pattern of behavior in a lot of Christians, nice to one’s face, but talks behind their back or, berates them, while claiming it is chastising them to help them grow spiritually. But, seeing the actions, the words, the attitude behind the actions and words, it is simply anger and hate that they are spewing and not truly any good intent behind the actions. They want to get things off their chest, wear their cloaks of self-righteousness and tell the person all about how terrible they are to do whatever it is that they feel was a slight, real or perceived. They have no hesitation not only talking about another, but often exaggerating circumstances, just to make themselves feel better. But the worst part of when they do it, many, many of them actually believe themselves and feel that they are being righteous. But, if one does these things, especially when they only do such when in limited company?
I wish I could say I have never been like that at all. In the past I have talked behind others backs and was nice to their faces to an extent but no where near to the extent that this man did. Still, it is wrong. I have apologized and been forgiven by Jesus and I am no longer that man. Praise the Lord for that.
For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Matthew 23:28
We are ALL SINNERS, we are all, as part of that sin, full of ourselves, we think in some way, that we are better than others, but to God, none are better. He sent His Son to die for us to deliver us from our sin and make us better people. But, those that flip back and forth, Christian when conditions are right, vile and hateful when it suits them, are like those that are neither hot nor cold.
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
We all need to realize that conditional Christianity, going from hot to cold, back and forth, produces a luke warm Christian, it damages one as a witness for Christ and impunes not only the character of the one behaving that way, but to non-Christians it destroys the credibility of ALL Christians.
Lord, I know in the past I was harsh, critical, unkind. I thank You for taking that out of me. I praise You for Your majesty and glory. I ask You continue to work on my heart that not only do I not speak and act out in those ways, but that I not even harbor any of those feelings in my heart. I pray You work with loved ones and others that they see the truth of Your words and know if they need to change and that they seek You to change. I ask You to draw us all closer to You, guide us in Your path for our lives and that we all live to glorify and worship Christ.
Thanks again. I hope this helps someone, helped me thinking on ways I do not want to be, I don’t want to be luke warm, hot then cold, but on fire for Christ. Have a great day and be a blessing to others as you go about your days.