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all christians are hypocrites: a response

Hypocrisy

“All you Christians are the same. You’re all hyprocrites!”

I have heard this claim personally multiple times in many different contexts, and in many different towns and cities. Sometimes it is said with malice and bitterness and sometimes it is said as if it is simply a statement of fact.

I was reminded of this claim when reading a blog by Christian Piat, Four More (BIG) Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church. In a series of blog articles, Piat outlines 11 key reasons why many young adults quit or stop being involved in Church. The view that Christians are hyprocites is just one of them. Piat writes:

From the scads of TV evangelists busted for impropriety to Catholic  priests sexually abusing children under their care, there’s a face on Christianity in the media that says one thing and does another. Though this is hardly the baseline for all Christians, there’s a phenomenon of  human consciousness that tends to seek out examples that reinforce  existing stereotypes. Things that don’t align with our prejudice get  filtered out. The result: everywhere we look, we see examples that  reaffirm what we already thought about Christians.

Read the rest of this entry

bitterness, anger, forgiveness: reflections in ephesians 4 (part 3)

Forgiveness by Eyob B Kassa

This is the final part of a three part series reflecting on Ephesians 4:31-32. You can see the other parts on anger & bitterness here and on forgiveness here.

This part is going to focus on how we can “put off” bitterness and “put on” forgiveness. What drives us to forgive in this extravgant manner? How can we forgive this way without burning ourselves out?

Let’s remind ourselves of the passage in Ephesians 4 one more time:

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The way we can forgive like this without burning out is found in the last part of v32. Paul instructs his readers to forgive, not out of obligation, not purely so to obey a command, not out of guilt or in order to be pious. Paul says, forgive because in Christ you have been forgiven.

Unless we see that we are just as broken, just as evil, just as in need of forgiveness as the persons who sin against us, we will not be able to forgive. Read the rest of this entry

bitterness, anger, forgiveness: reflection in ephesians 4 (part 2)

Forgiveness by Eyob B Kassa

Yesterday I began some reflections in Ephesians 4:31-32 about bitterness and anger and this post will focus on forgiveness. How do we forgive? Do we need to forgive and forget? How can we ensure that someone doesn’t hurt us again and again?

These were some of the questions that were raised at the end of the last post and I noted that I needed to answer them here.

Let’s remind ourselves of the passage in Ephesian 4:31-32;

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The first question involces the notion of “forgive and forget”. I noted that, in Tim Keller’s words, in order to forgive not only do you have to forego being the executioner, you also revoke your right to judge the person. You cannot be the executioner, you cannot actively seek to bring about your own idea of justice or vengence. And you also revoke the right to be the judge, to pass sentence and will the penalty or will revenge on the person even if you do not carry it out. Bitterness is the inward condition which holds a person liable for a sin (Tim Keller).

So if you cannot act as judge or executioner when someone sins against you, does this mean the only option is to forgive and forget?

Not only is this not the only option, it is often not the right option! In addition, it is almost impossible to forget, especially in serious cases. You may forgive and actually forget, but most of the time this is not a conscious decision – it just happens. But in cases of  serious sins, such as abuse or worse, this is almost never a reality. Read the rest of this entry

bitterness, anger, forgiveness: reflections in ephesians 4 (part 1)

Image by Kira on kirafeed.com

Most people, even those unfamiliar with the Bible, could tell you that Jesus taught his followers to forgive. One of the classic, well-know passages, is the Lord’s Prayer – forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12).

However, a common misconception is that anger is opposed to forgiveness, that if you choose to forgive you are choosing not to be angry. But is this actually the case?

Tim Keller (Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC) explains the idea of anger, in his sermons on Christian Lifestyle, as “being roused at the sight of evil.” Hence, anger is something that is not just an occurance in our lives but it is right to occur in our lives. When we see evil and injustice we are to hate it, to be “roused at the sight” of it. We are to become angry.

Indeed, this is exactly how God acts himself. Frequently, God is described as becoming angry – it burns against individuals such as Moses, against Israel and against the surrounding nations. God is roused by the sight of evil and injustice and become angry. And he needs to become angry. A holy, just and righteous God can not tolerate unrighteousness and injustice. God must become angry at the sight of evil! Read the rest of this entry

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