Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Keep your eyes on Christ to sustain faith

by CAROL SHIRK KNAPP Contributing Writer
| February 17, 2021 1:00 AM

Hypocrisy is defined as, “The practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another, or the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.” That's a thorny mouthful.

It is a trap waiting to spring. When I've found myself caught I seem to pile on more hypocrisy so no one will know I'm ensnared.

The Bible says the “word of God is living and active … and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I could not — would not — examine myself this honestly without the help of a God who is on my side. Who will accept nothing less than truth from me, but who doesn't leave me alone to deal with it. Who sets me on the path to freedom if I will just allow Him in.

This past week news surfaced of immense hypocrisy in the life of a much-respected, world-renowned defender of the Christian faith. Just the sort of thing that leads people to say, “See, there's nothing to his message. Look how he deceived everyone. He lived a lie. He's a fake.” There is not even the chance of confronting him, as he died last spring.

How do I reconcile such deception with the man whose life was changed after a teen suicide attempt when someone brought him a Bible in the hospital and he “realized the possibility that God might be a real being.” The fly-leaf in his final book reads, “… has spent the past 48 years commending the Christian faith and addressing life's great existential questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny with eloquence and grace.”

He got caught in his own trap — impulses outside of God's good. He could never admit it. He had to keep covering it up. He was a smart man, and he figured out how to do that. Did he privately feel guilt and shame? Regret? No one can answer these questions because he wasn't discovered and challenged on his behavior in this life.

The hard truth is anyone can cave. Hypocrisy doesn't care who it entraps. There is only one person who has withstood every falsehood and evil. And an influential man who traveled the world telling others why Jesus is someone worth knowing is not going to take Him down with his betrayal.

I am reminded once again to keep my eyes on Christ who “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” It's not up to other people to sustain my faith with their words and deeds. The only one who can do that has already proved Himself.