Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops national pastoral commission chairman Reverend Clement Mulenga says it is not right to have Catholics who pray, recite Hail Mary but are corrupt and do injustice.
A tremendous burden on our hearts is the lack of genuineness in many who profess Christ.
We are saddened to the point of tears over this.
Double-mindedness grieves us so much.
Who can truly and deeply know everything about us except us, ourselves, and God? Do our parents, siblings, spouse, children, or friends know every thought we think, every action, or every word we speak – whether good or bad? Of course not. Those closest to us may know a large percentage of who we are by our actions, words, and deeds – even still, they cannot see what is in our mind and heart.
Are we genuine to the core? Are we truly Christ-like, even in private? Would we be ashamed if our spiritual life were “hacked” and our lives were broadcast for all the world to see?
Just as there is a great gulf fixed between Heaven and Hell; there is also an unspoken chasm between our thoughts, motives, deeds – and what people see outwardly. In other words, our thoughts and secret words or actions can become a privately painful, sinful, dishonest place. However, it is also a place of safety, in a sense, because no human can ever access that secret corner. It’s almost as if it is “off-limits” which gives us a false sense of control and security. However, nothing – and, we mean nothing – is hidden from God. He knows and sees all. Do we care? Does it matter to us if we offend God and are unfaithful to Him and His ways?
Sure, we may call ourselves “Believers” – but do our secret lives add up? For those who put up a facade of being Godly, yet are in deep secretive sin – well, Jesus called such ones “hypocrites.” In Matthew 23:25, Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.”
Our unseen thoughts and motives are very real; likewise, God – although unseen – is very real, and He sees all. Of course, He is forgiving and merciful; but, should we keep on sinning and take advantage of this? “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).
How can we, in good conscience, be okay with secret sin? Why is it shameful to publicly sin, yet, somehow okay to sin secretively? Why don’t such people care? They think, ‘Oh well, no one sees or knows…’ Why don’t they care that God Almighty knows? Or does He even matter to them anymore, though they bear His name? The Holy Spirit can be grieved – do they care if they hurt Him?
There is no way to divorce our secret life from our public life in God’s eyes; for He keeps account of it all, whether good or evil. Oh, that there would be a great gulf fixed between Christians and sin! We are ambassadors for our King. We must represent Him well. Of course, we fail and sometimes fall – but do we learn, repent, and move forward? Or do we perpetually repeat the same sins and continue to bring hurt and shame to ourselves and those around us?
The Bible tells us that a hypocrite is someone who puts on a mask and pretends to be something he is not. Hypocrisy is to claim to know and follow certain beliefs but to behave in a way that counteracts those beliefs.
In 1 John 4:20 we are told, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
In Luke 6:46, we are reminded: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
And in Mark 7:6 we are told, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'”
Matthew 23:27-28 reads:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside, you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
It is said that the Pharisees minded what God spoke, but not what He intended. They were busy in the outward work of the hand, but incurious of the affections and choice of the heart.
Gore Vidal said, “Even a child could see the division between what the Galileans [i.e., Christians] say they believe and what, in fact, they do believe, as demonstrated by their actions. A religion of brotherhood and mildness which daily murders those who disagree with its doctrines can only be thought hypocrite, or worse.”
In a letter concerning toleration, John Locke wrote, “destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no? And I shall then indeed, and not until then, believe they do so, when I shall see those fiery zealots correcting, in the same manner, their friends and familiar acquaintance for the manifest sins they commit against the precepts of the Gospel; when I shall see them persecute with fire and sword the members of their own communion that are tainted with enormous vices and without amendment are in danger of eternal perdition; and when I shall see them thus express their love and desire of the salvation of their souls by the infliction of torments and exercise of all manner of cruelties. For if it be out of a principle of charity, as they pretend, and love to men’s souls that they deprive them of their estates, maim them with corporal punishments, starve and torment them in noisome prisons, and in the end even take away their lives — I say, if all this be done merely to make men Christians and procure their salvation, why then do they suffer whoredom, fraud, malice, and such-like enormities, which… manifestly relish of heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their flocks and people?”
We have all felt the brazenness of words without emotion, the hollowness, the unaccountable unpersuasiveness of eloquence behind which lies no love.
It is said that the Pharisees minded what God spoke, but not what He intended. They were busy in the outward work of the hand, but incurious of the affections and choice of the heart. So God was served in the letter, they did not much inquire into His purpose; and therefore they were curious to wash their hands, but cared not to purify their hearts.
Clearly, ours is a Christian nation of hypocrites.