where love is alive 

“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.  Luke 12:1b-3 NIV

The first definition I learned of “hypocrisy” was “saying one thing while doing another.” The Greek word actually comes from the world of theater.  Hupokrisis means “acting of a theatrical part.”  Quality actors and actresses are skilled at presenting a character who is vastly different than the personality of the performer himself or herself.

In these words from Luke’s gospel, Jesus warns His followers about the inconsistency of the Pharisees who presented one message while living out another. He adds that eventually one’s true colors come out and what was thought to be secret is “proclaimed from the roofs” for public consumption.

The technology of modern life enables comments and statements to reach a wide audience.  It makes me wonder, if Jesus were speaking today would He say that hidden things would be “tweeted” for all to read?

Most days I watch the morning news and every day the report includes a quote that someone has sent out on some form of social media.  Statements that begin in a quiet manner often gain quite a bit of public traction.

The news often features social media posts that frankly are crass and ugly.  Inevitably, someone defends a comment because it is no worse than a comment someone else said about someone else.  But the justification of what is “appropriate” to say cannot merely be the content of what another said.  The adage, “Two wrongs don’t make a right” comes to mind.

The Bible has much to say about the harm our language can bring to us and to others:

  • After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”  Matthew 15:10 NIV
  • And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:22b
  • The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Proverbs 10:11 NIV
  • If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. James 1:26 NIV

Our language reflects our spiritual maturity:

Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:15 NIV

One of the distinctions between Christians and non-Christians should be our tone and vocabulary in both spoken and written formats.  May we strive to communicate truth in the language of love, grace, and humility.

-Jay

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    Discussion

    1. Dear Pastor,
      My wife and I are moving to the Cleveland area sometime in May or first part of June.
      We have been praying fervently for God’s direction in locating us to His place of worship, fellowship, and service there. We will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this August 5th. We met at Dallas Bible College and Connie joined me, along with other students, in an itenerate ministry to three rural churches in SW Arkansas. Therefore we are celebrating fifty-two (52) years of ministry together. She was the pianist.

      Our son, Mike Harrison, Jr, has a 36 acre spread about 15 minutes from North Cleveland Baptist, where our apartment is being constructed beginning this week. We are retirees: Connie in 2016, as a Director of a four physician (pediatric) Cook Children’s facility in Flower Mound, TX; and myself in 1996, as Dean of Students at the International Institute of ACE located in Lewisville, TX (after four heart attacks and two major strokes).

      God renewed my strength and I was able to speak again, preaching and teaching for over ten years in my wheelchair. But God had another change for us as He laid on my heart two new ministries (but they required me to walk – No problem for the Lord!) I called my dear pastor and we had he and his wife pray with us along with five other “faithful prayers”. Six months later, God delivered the answer – on the night of the worst pain I had ever experienced in my 47 years of back pain… there in our bedroom, in my hospital bed, at 3:00 AM, I finally fell off to sleep in total exhaustion. At 7:00 AM, I was awakened by the soft peck on the cheek of Connie’s “goodbye, I’m off to work” kiss. After a few seconds I realized something was different.

      “No back pain”, I gasped. Then, “Glory, I can walk”!
      I put my feet on the floor immediately. Stood straight up and walked without a wobble;
      Bent right over and touched the floor, “Glory, Hallelujah; let Your Name be praised”!
      When Connie came home for lunch – she was overcome with joy and thanksgiving!
      Our three married children and their families were rejoicing. They had been praying.
      But what happened on Sunday was so glorious. Pastor Osborne and I decided I would make a special announcement. The congregation had, for the most part, never seen me walk. I made my way to the auditorium early and transferred to a from row pew.
      When he said I had an announcement, instead of sending down a mike, I leaped up and ran up nine steps to the podium. There was silence throughout. Not a sound from either level. The following clapping, “amans”, “glories”, and “hallelujahs” are a testament to the faithfulness of God and His people honoring Him in worship and praise. Humbly and passionately I explained to our family in the faith the privilege God was affording us and that we had taken on two new assignments six months earlier with the full assurance this day would be a blessing for us all, but the glory all His. That was August 2006. I became active in our special missions group and became a Salvation Army shortly thereafter.

      Connie and I practice personal evangelism and are faithful in praying and Bible reading and study. We are interested in a church that is committed to disciple making and worship. We are interested in a church that’s doors are open to all. We are highly interested to an assembly where “reaching our” and “reaching in” are in balance with the Word. We are interested in a church where we can serve. Connie plays the keyboard, sings, teaches, and just loves folks. I first taught junior boys at age sixteen and have been teaching for 54 years. I first preached (Opelousas, LA) at age 18; therefore for almost 53 years. I came to know Christ as Savior at age, 11, at a VBS at First Baptist Church Moss Bluff (Near Lake Charles, LA). I Graduated, Dallas Bible College, 1971,(Biblical Studies). Connie came to know the Lord as Savior as a younger child at home. Both of us were baptized before the age of 12.

      Most of my “work”career was spent in management.
      I worked for over 10 years for Sherwin Williams Co. in Garland, TX (night shifts) in order: to finish Bible College; supplement income as pastor; free time during days to volunteer for Christian ministries at various churches.
      I worked 17 years for Accelerated Christian Education; IT Director and Dean of Students.
      Christian Ministry: Pastor, Youth Pastor, Music Leader, Men’s Ministry, Deacon, Project Leader, Sunday School Teacher, Evangelist, Church Planting, Church Recovery,
      Salvation Army Chaplin, Missions Team Leader… Church Janitors (together), Create and print Bulletin…

      We would love to hear from you. We need you to provide some things that you, as pastor of North Cleveland, consider dear to you in your own ministry, and from what I have shared, would you be willing to join Connie and me in asking God to direct our hearts to the people and field where He has for us join Him in His work?

      Matt. 28:19-20
      John 13:31-35

      Posted by Michael C Harrison Sr / Mike | March 5, 2017, 2:38 pm
    2. Thanks for writing. I hope you will come see us when you get to the Cleveland Area. I have a deep love for local church ministry and appreciate when Christians join together in ministry.
      Have a blessed Easter Season

      Jay McCluskey, Pastor

      Posted by jaym | April 6, 2017, 11:44 am
    3. Thanks Dr. Jay. I always need the reinforcement of knowing He will come in His time.

      Posted by Viviene Serridge | May 20, 2018, 6:50 am
    4. Received your website with ease this morning and sermon on Hypocrisy. Thanks so much.

      Posted by Viviene Serridge | June 10, 2018, 9:07 am

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