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Believe it or not, I grew up in a home where I never heard my father or my mother cuss. That’s pretty remarkable in and of itself.
But I believe Jesus cussed a few times to get his point across when he walked the earth, especially when he saw what the religious people were saying and doing to others. There may not be any four letter words said, but believe you me, Jesus gave them what we would call a “coming to Jesus talk” here in the South.
For just a minute, put aside that mild mannered image of Jesus. Hear what he said to the most educated religious persons in his day.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. 28So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23: 27-28)
If this isn’t enough for you, there’s plenty more where that came from in Matthew 23.
When Jesus looks you in the eye and tells you that you are in a heap of trouble, and compares you to a grave that looks nice on the outside, but you are dead bones on the inside, one better sit up and listen. Dang hypocrite!
Our problem with this passage of Scripture is we always thought Jesus was talking to “them” in our society. You know who they are. In reality, Jesus is speaking to us, and all the rest who say religious words only.
And by the way, before we get too defensive when someone calls us a hypocrite in our faith, we better just drop the bravado and say, “You know what, you’re right. I’ve got a lot of stuff I’m working on with God. I don’t have it all together. Thanks for the reminder.”
That should be enough to keep us busy for awhile. We won’t have time to go after all those sinners out there, because now we know they is us.
Without grace, without forgiveness, we are all in trouble. Every single one of us. No exceptions.
But when we know how much we need it, we see the wisdom of asking for it, and sharing it with others.