False Religion, True Religion series
The wretchedness of the hypocrites and complacent
Jesus talked a lot about the poster children of false religion, the Sadducees and Pharisees, which was addressed in a previous topic. He also told the wealthy that their wealth would stand in their way. But many of us are neither rich nor poor, we’re just comfortable.
John, the writer of Revelations, talked about the comfortable in the church in Laodicea.
Revelation 3: 14-17: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
There’s nothing wrong with wealth. Some of the wealthy do more than thousands of other people to help the world. It’s the wealthy who close businesses to acquire even more wealth, who feel entitled and sit complacently by while other hard-working people suffer and often go homeless while the wealthy.
Somehow we in the US think we’re the wealthiest nation on earth. We have the highest GDP, which is the total national financial value of our products and services. Yet to accomplish this many of our businesses pay poverty wages which don’t allow people to support themselves, let alone their families. However the US is not even rate in the top five countries for happiness. We’re 19th.
Stock market greed
I’ve been in businesses that threatened to close, not because they weren’t profitable but because their profit level didn’t meet stock market expectations. In business, stock market greed trumps the lives of the workers. This combined with poverty wages is no different than working for lords in feudal times.
Businesses aren’t the only ones at fault. We consumers always demand the lowest price, pushing businesses to keep wages low so that we can buy, buy, buy. We hold money as the highest ideal while many other nations are much happier than we are.
We turn a blind eye to problems in our world. “Wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Not hot or cold about following Christ and loving others, just complacent in our wealth and poverty of spirit.
I never recommend creating programs that make people depend on government for handouts. We have to help others help themselves. Teach people to fish, not depend on us for fish.
The liars in our land
“Greed is good,” they say. We tolerate and even glorify those who tell lies and deceive us with wicked plans. Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
We have today an abundance of people who call themselves Christians, lying, making devious plans, telling falsehoods about people, and sowing discord among people. God hates these things. They have no idea what Christianity is aboutBiblical example of how to treat others
God has set the example. Micah 6:8, ESV, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” If you read the Bible, these things become abundantly clear.
So often we read the Bible with one person in mind: me. How does God protect us. How does God provide for us. How does God do all kinds of things for us. We need to read with a different perspective, reading more of the prophets and Jesus who tell us to help others.
Jesus set the example by going to those despised by the Jews. He didn’t exclude people because of who they were (Samaritans, Roman soldiers, and non-Jews), or for their behavior.
He went to the lepers and the sick, to the poor and others who some might consider to be “losers.” In fact, the Jews of that time even had laws about not associating with outsiders.
Breakdown of Micah 6:8
Do justice. This doesn’t mean lock people up – it has nothing to do with criminal justice. It means treat others fairly. Make sure that people have what they need.
Love kindness. This doesn’t refer to our feelings, it means to actually help other people be treated fairly. Be kind to them.
Walk humbly with your God. This doesn’t mean deciding Jesus was wrong or being self-serving with what we do. It means being less than God and looking up to him as a guide.
Our actions as followers of Christ demonstrate what following Christ means. It demonstrates not just to us, but to others. Words are just words, confusion in the spiritual realm, until the Spirit of God and experience in life convinces us of their validity.
This is all a bit different than swearing some kind of allegiance to a “Christian nation,” with all sorts of self-serving and misled beliefs. This is what it means to be a Christian.
Take Home points
God doesn’t hate wealth. He hates when people ignore other’s needs and don’t use their wealth to alleviate suffering. This applies to each one of us regardless of wealth.
Stock market greed and our own greed pushes businesses to eliminate jobs, pay low wages, merge companies to eliminate jobs, and move factories to countries where labor is cheaper.
Do justice and love kindness means to make sure other people are treated well. It’s a reflection of the commandment, love your neighbor as yourself.
When other people are suffering we can’t be satisfied, entitled, and complacent. We have to help.
Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world better.
I will use some book references for this series, which I recommended reading:
- Tabernacle of Hate by Kerry Nobles – true story of a group that isolated for peaceful living but ended up in cults that advocated violence.
- C Street by Jeff Sharlet – a true cult that thought Jesus was wrong, and influences politicians around the world
- When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball (5 warning signs)
Other articles in this series will include:
- Spiritual abuse
- Spiritual and religious
- Chasing after money
- Sadducee and Pharisee examples, and today tradition above all else
- The two churches in Revelations
- Example of C Street and Tabernacle of Hate
- Example of End Times Prophecy
- Evil done in the name of religion
- True religion part 1 – what is meant by truth?
- True religion part 2 – In Spirit
- True religion part 3 – In Truth
- True religion part 4 – The Wrath of Isaiah
- True religion part 5 – True versus false