Here we have yet another social media-centric devotional from Jim Cymbala. The @paul-w post above is a perfect example of how preachers will attempt to call out any feedback or questions some sort of “attack from evil forces.” Here, he is categorizing people who post on social media as “nasty, nasty.” Here is a quote from the devotional “A Warning Against Deception.”
“But to think, because you know the truth, you’re fine when we don’t practice the truth. When you can quote verses but be nasty, nasty. Read what Christians write in social media. I’m told… I don’t check it out. I have enough problems in life. Or how they talk to each other. The meanness, the nastiness. Can anybody picture Jesus doing any of those things? And we’re supposed to be followers of Jesus, but that’s the point. They’re not in the light.”
Now, I think being nasty is wrong. But is questioning a leader nasty? Would Jesus ever be quoted as saying something nasty? How about to religious leaders who are one thing on the stage and quite another off? Let’s take a look at the words of sinless Jesus.
(Note: @formerbtmem54 had some great insight in their post which included scriptures from the Message translation. I’ll post in the Message here as well since it’s translated into our modern vernacular, but I encourage you to read it in other translations if you so desire.)
Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.”
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You buff the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, “Watch yourselves carefully so you don’t get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.
“I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
The Word of the Lord…