Someone Doesn't Get It

Someone doesn’t get it.

Someone doesn’t see the link between the Premier of this province celebrating her victory in getting beer sold in grocery stores by buying a six-pack in front of the cameras, with encouraging drunk drivers, domestic violence and under-aged drinking.

Someone doesn’t see the connection between allowing physician assisted suicide for terminally ill twelve-year-olds with the probability of an even higher rate of teenage suicides brought on by depression and hopelessness. One pain is as real as the other.

Someone doesn’t see that legalizing marijuana for “medical” purposes is not the message delivered in the advertising by its proponents, advertising that doesn’t depict dying, pain-ridden people in hospital beds, but perfectly healthy young adults smiling through the euphoric haze of their addictions.

They just don’t get it.

How can you facilitate the purchase of alcohol as though it were an acceptable part of our daily menu and then pretend to be concerned about its effects?

How can you give children the right to take their lives and pretend to be appalled at the growing number of teenagers who do the same?

How can you say one thing and promote another, especially knowing a “soft” drug simply leads to more potent ones?

But, oh, there are safeguards in place! Someone doesn’t get that either. There are always ways to get around the “rules.” We do it all the time. To believe otherwise is incredibly naive.

This capacity to say something and then contradict it in our actions is called hypocrisy and, despite the fact that Christians are often accused of it, the rest of the world is just as guilty. But just because the world does it, doesn’t let those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus off the hook.

Psalm 96:9 says: “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” How odd to connect this verse to the subject of hypocrisy, right?

Not so odd at all.

The meaning of “the splendor of holiness” is “holy attire.” The idea is that when we worship the Lord we need to come before dressed in holiness, prepared to worship Him. Unhappily, more often worship is offered in the “splendor of hypocrisy.”

I choose singing here as representative of worship because this psalm begins with the invitation to “sing to the Lord.” Dare I sing songs that proclaim how much the Lord means to me when I am walking in deliberate disobedience to Him, and then call that worship? The tears in my eyes and the upraised, pious hands might fool those around me, but do I deceive God? It's impossible to give God the honour due His Name, as described in the psalm, when we come before Him in this state.

We don’t get it.

What happened to preparing ourselves for worship? What happened to leaving home with those clean hands and pure heart described in Psalm 24? What happened to quiet time prior to worship when we can pray and give His Spirit the opportunity to search us and to reveal what needs to be dealt with so that we can worship Him as Jesus instructed the Samaritan woman: “Yet a time is coming and now has come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, 24)?

I can't control how, or if, my church leaders provide the opportunity for congregants to prepare themselves for worship prior to the service, but I can control what happens in my own house. I can leave my home with clean hands and a pure heart prepared to truly worship in "the splendor of holiness" rather than the splendor of hypocrisy. I can put things right with God and commit myself to those “course corrections” in my life, before I even walk out my front door—and I need to. My choice.

The truth is that, like the world, none of us can hide from the people around us when we really don’t get it, when, in my case, my worship is often hypocritical. Those who watch our lives know, sometimes to a greater degree than we are willing to admit to knowing ourselves, when our lives don’t match our words. And that condemns us, and holds our Saviour up to the ridicule and disdain of that same world. We laugh at the stupidity of the world because they don't get it, but forget that the world also laughs at our stupidity too.

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