"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The "Holier than thou" mask

Masquerade balls I’m sure are fun, but Sunday mornings at church is not the place to hold them!  The past 2 weeks I’ve been examining some of the masks we put on.  Here is our last—the  “holier than thou” mask. 

This mask is the most dangerous of all, and here is why.  The person wearing this mask is most likely completely unaware of it!  These people don’t get what everyone else’s hang ups are…because they are doing just fine all on their own.  Those of us wearing this mask might think we are better than others.  I know that when I’m at my worst, I quite easily slip on this mask.

Jesus shares a parable concerning this mask.

A Pharisee and a tax collector went to the temple to pray. 
This was the Pharisee’s prayer:

…‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ (Luke 18:11-12)

The tax collector on the other hand…

… stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ (Luke 18:13)

And Jesus’ response was…

 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

After Matthew (tax collector turned disciple) threw his party for Jesus, the disciples, and a few “notorious sinner” friends, the Pharisee’s had some words to say.

… “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

“Holier than thou” mask wearers apart from the Holy Spirit opening their eyes to the truth, are trapped in their masks…because they don’t believe they are wearing them.

“Only the sick need a doctor.”  What great news for you and me…that Jesus seeks out those who know they are sick, and desire to be healed…and clothes us not in some cover up mask…but in his grace.
Adam and Eve masked their sin with fig leaves until God covered them with the first animal killed for the sake of man’s sin—its blood being shed.

Jesus became the ultimate covering—shedding his blood on our behalf and covering us with his unfathomable grace!

Are you still wearing the fig leaves?  Get rid of them.  They aren’t doing the job…you just look silly.  Wrap yourself in God’s beautiful grace!

To explore this further, check out “The Cure” by TrueFaced.com, and Matt Chandler’s sermon “The diagnostic and the cure”—a sermon on Galatians.

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