Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent, Day 11

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” - Matthew 23

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The other night I was reading a similar passage, from the Sermon on the Mount, to my daughter at bedtime. She asked, "What's a hypocrite?"

I said, "A hypocrite is someone who tells everyone that doing a thing is very important, but then goes and does the opposite. Or another way to look at it: a hypocrite is someone who says the rules are important, but doesn't think he or she needs to follow them. Like, 'Do as I say, but not as I do.'"

She rolled her eyes in impatience at the thought of such a person and muttered, "Whatever!"

Some people refuse to join the church because they believe it to be full of hypocrites. My inward response is, "It sure is, and you'll be in good company." We're all hypocrites. But every day we are given new opportunities to forsake hypocrisy and try again.

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