Even in Jesus’ time, there were those who identified as Christians but didn’t act like it, as we find in Luke 6:43-49. It’s true today, too. So what’s the problem?
Jesus said to his disciples:
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”
I am confused. On social media I see people list themselves as Christians, but then I see them carry on in the most unchristian ways. They judge others, they spew hate, they condemn, they troll others, and they support the least Christian policies, far from what Jesus himself did while living among us. This isn’t about politics, this is about basic human decency. This is about treating one another as basic human beings, with love.
They supposedly call Jesus “Lord, Lord,” but they do not do as He commands.
What does Jesus command us to do? He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, second only to loving God with all of our heart, our mind, and our soul. Jesus also tells us to feed the hungry, to provide for the poor, give comfort to the suffering, take care of the disabled, the widow, and the orphan, and to take care of the sick. All these things Jesus did in His time among us. He also said not to judge others, and He refused to condemn the sinners He encountered. And Jesus said to love your enemies and make peace with those with whom you have a problem.
Do you suppose these social media “Christians” simply haven’t read the Gospels? Or is it possible they are only getting a portion of the Gospels, or perhaps aren’t being taught the appropriate parts of the Gospels? Or is it that these are the “stiff-necked” people we read about in the Old Testament still living among us today — they do like to quote the Old Testament a lot. Whenever I bring up their preference for the Old Testament and even the Letters of Paul they also frequently quote, they are mum. They are unable to quote me a passage of the Gospels where Jesus commands them to do as they do or reason as they reason.
So is this the Church of Saint Paul, the Church of the Old Testament, or the Church of Jesus Christ? If you are a Christian, shouldn’t you want to know what Jesus Christ says, thinks, and does? If you are going to call Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” shouldn’t you do what He commands?
Somewhere, something is wrong. Jesus saw it in His own time. It’s as true today. And as Jesus says above, “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.” Are our religious teaching the right things? Are our congregations getting the right messages or gleaning the right messages from what they are being taught?
Yet from people of good will, goodness will come regardless. Jesus says above, “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” And so, if we are of good will, if we love God with all of our being and love our neighbors as ourselves, goodness will be the result. We must read the Gospels, hear Jesus’ words, follow His teachings, and do what He commands. Then we may in truth call Him, “Lord, Lord.”