Breaking Bad (Week Four)- Breaking the Mold

I don’t like fake.

I’m not good at it.

If I’m mad it you, you’ll know.  Not because I’ll be passive aggressive or play games.  I’ll tell you.

If I’m sad, you’ll know.  Not because I’m mopey or pitching a fit, but because I’ll be preoccupied and if you ask me I’ll be honest that I’m struggling through…not getting stuck in…something.  Whatever it is.

If I’m happy…you get the idea.

It’s really hard to have a healthy relationship with someone if one of us is fake.  It just is.  Because our relationship is only as honest and the least honest of the two of us, as open as the least open of the two of us, and as real as the least real of the two of us.

Fake is bad.

Jesus was not…is not… a fan of fake.  This is long but worth a solid read.  He makes it very clear where He stands:

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteriesa wide and the tassels on their garments long;6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

8“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

13“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14]b

15“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’19You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
— Matthew 23:1-34

(The text color change is my emphasis…not the scripture from www.biblehub.com.)

This week is not going to be about not acting like a hypocrite.  That’s not the angle we are coming from.  We know how to be naked honest with God.  We know, that just like us, He has the freedom to express Himself however He chooses…and probably chooses a number of ways that we weren’t even aware of.  We know to be more open to that possibility.  We know that being real means doing life with Him.  So this week….

…we are looking at REAL sustainability.  Jesus was all up in the Pharisees’ grills because their hearts and heads were not connected.  They cared so much more about behavior for the sake of appearance than reality.  He cares about BEING and REAL.  BEING REAL.  Our relationship with God will ebb and flow because it is between two living beings.  All relationships ebb and flow.  We want to make sure that when we ebb, we aren’t drifting away or becoming disconnected.  This week we will look at some of the common hurdles we encounter that can cause us to drift or disconnect and how to combat them. These experiences, which will happen from time to time, can be shortened.  That’s what this week is about.  We will pray through what constitutes a healthy soul life right now…for you…in the place and time and chapter that you find yourself in.  You can choose what applies most to you this week.

Questions to pray or journal through:
1.  What stood out the most to you in Jesus’ calling out of the Pharisees?
2.  Why do you think He was so harsh with the Pharisees, yet so gentle with the woman caught in adultery in John 8?