Tag Archives: hypocrisy

Villains in our midst

Villains in our midst

One thing I’ve gathered from all the TV shows I’ve watched: movies, soaps, cartoons and all, is that at least in every story there must be antagonists and protagonists. Pick any Walt Disney favourite for instance…

Cinderella has her step mother and the two step sisters, who darken her days perpetually; Rapunzel has that witchy ‘mother’- the abductor who always claims to love and know what’s best for the golden haired maiden; in 101 Dalmatians there’s Cruella, who tries rounding up all the dotted hounds so she can make herself a fur coat from their beautiful white furs with strewn black spots…

In short, for the story’s protagonist to have that happily ever after, there must the grand fall of the antagonist; a very celebrated thing in most cases. These stories however, are not the kind I want to delve into today. I’m thinking more along the lines of the I-want-to-take-over-the-world kind of villains.

One thing I’m always wondering is why some people are so obsessed with ruling the world. This desire is apparently so strong that one would practically do anything to get hold of that power. The so called villains-of-the-piece will do everything from having the crown prince (ss) abducted in a usually half-baked attempt to sabotage their chances of inheriting the throne when the reigning king/queen dies, to assassinating all those who stand in their way. It’s never pretty, really.

Someone would be utterly mistaken to think this kind of scheming is only a fiction of scriptwriters’ imagination. These ploys are best seen in real life stories where for instance, someone wants to assume a certain political position and there are too many candidates running for the post; or in companies where one wants to sit at the helm and the seat’s already occupied.

Sometimes, one finds themselves starring at one of the most inconceivable machinations and it becomes even more complex to fathom how a person, deemed a saint in the making by all and sundry, turns out to be the villain.

During these past few weeks I’ve been made privy to one of the worst kinds of rumours; I only choose to call them that because even though bits of the story have been confirmed, some still remain unconfirmed and I know it’s only a matter of time before everything comes to light.

As it turns out, even the most unlikely of persons could turn out to be the villains. In this case, both the antagonist and protagonist are respected men of the cloth. The characters, who I will name A and B respectively, are caught up in a war-not a fist fight though.

The issue apparently is that A, who is B’s assistant, has been conspiring with some spiteful faithful to ‘dethrone’ B, who heads the parish. In his attempt to sink B, A together with his minions fabricated all sorts of allegations so B would be banished from the church.

As I’ve already pointed out, A wants to be the one heading the parish. The few faithful on the other hand, are displeased with B because he’s so strict and won’t let anyone embezzle church funds. Talk about suffering for doing the right thing. Some of the allegations I’ve heard raised against him are just downright false and I pray that with time every truth will be revealed.

This story has had me thinking a lot. First of all, one would imagine that anyone who has spent years in theology school, learning how to be a “fisher of men” would have the will power to restrain from tarnishing his fellow priest’s name.

I speak of will power because I know every human being is prone to sin ergo no one is perfect. However, one would imagine that the solemn vows made, to serve God above all else would strengthen one’s desire to do all that pleases Him; just like in marriages, what keeps a couple grounded are those vows taken: to love and cherish each other…for better or worse.

I feel we have become our own worst enemies. We persecute our fellow Christians (in light of the example above) and still lament how the world is filled with evil. Our systems on the other hand, are so corrupt that an aggrieved person can’t even seek justice; and so accustomed have we grown to that life of lies and defrauding that when a clean and pure heart tries to uproot that evil, nipping it from the bud, we turn against them.

We’ve been awfully enshrouded in darkness that we perceive the good guys as the bad guys and instead of plucking the wolves from our midst we sacrifice the innocent sheep. That’s the harsh reality of what the world has turned into; blameless victims rot behind bars while the actual culprits walk the streets in broad day light, carefree; without an ounce of guilt to cloud their seemingly bright days.

The passion of Christ springs to mind; the part where the Jews asked for Barabbas to be released from prison when he was actually guilty and for Jesus to be killed (Matthew 27: 17-26). We are those people. We asphyxiate truth and justice and eagerly embrace ally kinds of evil that a real Christian would frown upon.

Jesus said some pagans are better than believers, because –in my understanding- the latter are just impenitent reprobates hiding behind the Bible; and I couldn’t agree more.

Sadly, we fail to realize that God is ever just. He vindicates those who follow His ways and brings their foes to their knees, and what’s more, we can build or destroy with our words and deeds; the choice is ours. And as we know, each decision has a consequence.

 

How to deal with non-believers

united-seeing past differences

I’ve never understood why, but some Christians treat all non-believers like they’re sinners and will therefore go to hell. Well here are a few words of enlightenment: be wise in the way you act towards those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone (Colossians 4: 5-6).

Sometimes I come across Christians who say they are saved, but the things they do/say leave me with so many doubts about their salvation. In many of my posts, I’ve talked about the issue of judging others; acting all self-righteous and all. What makes me question someone’s idea of salvation is not because I feel I’m a better Christian, but because I wonder, if I wasn’t really a believer already, how many of the Christians I’ve met would convince me to give my life to Christ?

From what I have gathered over time, everyone has a justified reason as to why they do/don’t profess a certain faith. If someone is a non-believer, does that mean they will automatically be damned to hell on judgement day? Not really. In any case Jesus believed that some pagans are better than those who call themselves believers.

Some of us feel like they are warranted to condemn others because they are believers and in their eyes, those who don’t believe in God are sinners. According to many Bible verses, God hates self-righteousness. In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus told a parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else:

“Once there were two men who went up to the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like the tax collector over there. I fast two days a week and give you a tenth of all my income.’

But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his head to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’

I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great.”

So when a believer shouts, “You will go to hell!” to a non-believer, what does one suppose God thinks of that believer? It is not our place to condemn. Only an ignorant person would assume that all those who don’t believe in God will be damned.

In his letter to the Colossians 2: 16-19, Paul says, “So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon festival or the Sabbath. All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels.

For no reason at all, such a person is all puffed up by his human way of thinking and has stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body.”

Identifying ourselves as Christians, makes us believe we know exactly what’s wrong; who is right or not, but the truth is, only God knows who is guilty/innocent. If a believer assumes that a neighbour who doesn’t go to church has already booked a ticket to hell, then one ought to know that those we condemn might actually be the ones who are actually right in the eyes of God.

In Proverbs 16: 2, King Solomon says, “You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.” So it really doesn’t matter if one spends all their time in church praying, fasting and tithing religiously every month.

Jesus condemns hypocrisy. In Matthew 23: 23-27, He says, “How terrible of you teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give to God one tenth even of the seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect to obey the really important teachings of the law, such as justice and mercy and honesty.

These you should practice without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain a fly out of your drink, but swallow a camel! How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of your cup and plate, while the inside is full of what you have gotten by violence and selfishness. Blind Pharisees!

Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too! How terrible for you, teachers of law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins.”

In very simple words, Jesus is the holiest man, who has ever walked this earth, yet He didn’t go around castigating those who didn’t believe in Him/His Father. He loved everyone, without discriminating and used the best examples to inspire love for His Father and not fear in people’s hearts. So if He didn’t despise, why should we?

If Jesus popped in on a conversation between you-a Christian-and a non-believer, would He be proud of you, or would He unleash the ‘hypocrite!’ admonishment on you? If you were a non-believer, would a Christian doing the things you do, both in public and in private, convince you to join the faith?