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Feb 20, 2021 08:00am
Hypocrisy, Religious People and Self-Awareness
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It’s sickening. It makes my stomach turn: Christian leaders using their spiritual prowess to sexually exploit women, justify it spiritually, and continue to preach against the same.

(Here is just one of the most recent examples from RZIM, the ministry of Ravi Zacharias, who was accused of many sexual assaults. A self-imposed investigation of RZIM discovered the horrible truth and published a 12-page report of its findings:

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/rzimmedia.rzim.org/assets/downloads/Report-of-Investigation.pdf)

The unavoidable question agitating my mind after reading this report was, “How can this happen?”

Here we have a man who dedicated over 40 years of his life to proving that Jesus is the truth. Yet at the same time, he lived such a disgusting lie. He would preach that Jesus is our healer of sexuality while he would molest and rape vulnerable women. 

He used his spiritual prowess as a means to exploit women sexually, hundreds of them. He co-owned several massage parlors, one named “A touch of Eden.” Eden means “delight.” My stomach turns.

Still, the question I can’t avoid: How can anyone live so hypocritically?

Watch out: Religious people tend to rely on cheap grace.

Zacharias had a powerful testimony. He had a radical, impressive conversion story: After attempting suicide, he met German missionaries that introduced him to Jesus and “changed his life forever.” The Bible is very clear, as Jesus was, that just because you start to follow Jesus doesn’t mean that you will end that way. The Parable of the Sower is one of many examples. 

As religious people, we tend to rely on an experience we had when we were younger, so we use that as an excuse to live the way we want, thinking we’ll be forgiven for everything we do. Is this the case? Surely Zacharias thought this. But odds are he will not stand before the Lord and hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” No. Likely (not to be too presumptuous), he will hear, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoer.”

Watch out: Being in the Jesus community can give us deceptive confidence. 

We think because we attend church regularly and all of our friends are Christians, that means we’re dedicated followers of Jesus. Wrong. Judas is the prime example of someone who was plugged into the community of Jesus but still lived as if he hated him. Zacharias lived as if he hated Jesus but preached in Jesus’ name. It’s easy to speak the “Jesus language” when we’re around our Christian friends. We might need to consider our speech and motives.

Watch out: We are all blind to our blind spots. 

It’s terrifying that someone can have a powerful testimony, be one of the most influential Christian apologists of all time, and still live as a blatant hypocrite. It’s terrifying because those who live hypocritically often don’t know it. If we’re not careful, we can live the same way. As people who represent Jesus, we need to be hyper-aware of our own lives and the areas we need to repent. 

For those claiming to follow Jesus:

We need to do three things:

 – Check ourselves with scrutiny.

 – Be quick to confess.

 – Turn away from our sin. 

I am convinced that the longer we live in sin, the more blind we are to it. The road to damnation is a subtle one. It only takes drifting one degree at a time. Ten years later we are miles from where we started. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter if we have a powerful testimony or if we live among the community of Jesus. It didn’t matter for Zacharias. Our past experience is not a fail-safe remedy that we can lean on to provide us God’s grace. If anything, it can be used as an excuse to cheapen God’s grace and blind us to the justice we face if we don’t turn from our sin. 

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