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A Bit of Hypocrisy?

In light of the last few weeks of protest in our nation, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you on the sin of hypocrisy. First of all, let me state emphatically that the Lord Jesus Christ had his strongest denunciation for those who pretended to be something that they were not. His strongest words of the denunciation are found in Matthew 23 where Jesus repeatedly calls out the Pharisees and scribes for their continued and repeated sin of hypocrisy. We read Jesus’s words, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men bones and all uncleanness. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? (Matt.23:13,14,27,33 NKJV). Jesus spoke these words after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the last week of His earthly ministry. While the plot to kill Jesus was well underway at that point, He certainly added fuel to the fire by a strong declaration of the sin of hypocrisy that He saw all around Him. God saves this strongest pronunciation for those who live pretending to be something that they are not, this is very offensive to our God.

I believe the sin of slavery is the original sin of our founding fathers and I believe it was very offensive to God as well. How is it possible for our founding fathers to fight a war for independence while many of them were slaveholders themselves. In the original draft of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson included a lengthy paragraph denouncing King George for the slave trade and practice. There was an opportunity for our founding fathers to change the course and history of our nation. At that moment in time slavery could have been ended, but that’s not what happened. As a result of many of the founding fathers being slaveholders, they wouldn’t agree to set the slaves free in the cause of independence in that paragraph was eliminated. Thus, they fought a war for liberty from England when they themselves had men, women, and children in horrible bondage and slavery. The dehumanization of a people group could have been ended way back in 1776, instead, it remains a scourge among us even to this day. That is the root cause of many of the social ills and racism that we have with us today.

I see a little bit of hypocrisy in the actions of our governor over the last week. I have been struggling for some weeks with churches being closed or only 10 people being allowed to attend inside church buildings. I am thankful that as a result of this God is given us a new ministry through our online streaming services, but it still it has offended me that the business across the street (a lawn and garden business) has hundreds of people going through their doors every weekend and we have been virtually closed now for three months. But last weekend when the governor joined with hundreds of marchers in the “Black Lives Matter” protest I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It seems wrong to me that the governor can decide and pick and choose which businesses will succeed or fail. How is it possible for our governor to march shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of protesters and then tell us that we can’t meet as a group for prayer and worship? It seems like his hypocrisy is showing.

I don’t deny the governor the right to march with the protesters, even though he was in violation of his own social distancing declarations. What I have a problem with is us not having the right to meet together, practice social distancing, and worship the Lord Jesus Christ together. That is where my problem lies. Now the governor has allowed up to 50 inside church buildings and 100 outside for religious gatherings, how does that correspond with the hundreds that he marched with last weekend? How about restaurants that have been told they can only do take out? Again, shouldn’t people have the right to decide the activities they want to take the chance to be part of, just as the governor did when he marched last weekend? I guess he felt he had the right to do that, but shouldn’t that be the choice or decision each one of us should be able to make for ourselves? I guess I just see some hypocrisy and power in play wanting to tell people what they can and can’t do in their lives, while not applying the same principle to his own life. This was an offense in the founding of our nation when our forefathers fought for their liberty while keeping other people enslaved. I find it offensive when our governor decides how many can meet in our churches, how many people restaurants are allowed to serve, and when and if certain businesses can open. But he can choose to gather in protest, in violation of his own social distancing policies!! I wonder what God thinks?

Continuing to trust our Savior,

Pastor Rich Sivo

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