The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hiding Behind Morality

“The gospel isn’t religion... Nothing hides our fellow man more than morality, and nothing hides the face of God more than religion. When we are most religious, we may be most at risk of losing touch with God.” Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
Everyone loved Ted. He was a most dependable person and one of the most loving people you would ever meet. He seemed to be involved in everything at the church. He was a Sunday School teacher, deacon and sang in the choir. He was involved with so many school activities and he managed to coach a baseball and soccer team. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect person. He was the perfect family man; a loving husband and a great father to his children. However, it did seem odd that his wife and the kids seemed to keep in seclusion. For some reason she never participated in the women’s functions and the kids always came home right after school. Everything they did, they did as a family.

Until one day out of the blue Ted’s wife took off with the kids and divorced him. The entire community was shocked. They couldn’t believe this woman could do such a thing to poor Ted. Many people came to his aid to give poor Ted comfort during his grieving period. The people of the town scorned his wife, calling her names and berating her. All the while she just kept her mouth shut because she knew it was futile to say anything. Ted was an upstanding pillar of the community and anything she said would just be turned around against her.

It was amazing how many women wanted to be the next Mrs. Ted. They would know how to treat this wonderful man much better than his old harlot ex-wife. They couldn’t believe how this ungrateful woman could throw away this prize of a man.

Several years later Ted was accused of raping a 14 year old girl. The entire town was in shock. They all came on Ted’s behalf to defend this outrageous accusation. They belittled the young girl and eventually managed to run her whole family out of town. All charges were dropped and poor Ted was able to resume his wonderful life.

Less than a year later, Ted was caught in the act of molesting a 7 year old girl. This really upset the town and made them all feel so foolish because Ted had beguiled all of them for so long. They came to learn that his first wife and children had been physically, verbally and sometimes even sexually abused. They were overcome with shame with how they had treated them and the girl he had raped. Ted’s entire life was a lie and he suckered and whole town into defending him.

At one time or another all of us try to hide behind morality. We don’t want people to know who we really are. Charles Spurgeon called it secret sins. I know you’ve all heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” I believe the reason so many reject Christ is because it sounds too good to be true, but it is. God doesn’t hide behind religion or morality. He doesn’t have to, He’s God. He is perfect! However, if a man appears to be perfect, be alert.

Pastors/Preachers, Priests, Deacons, Politicians and distinguished business men sometimes hide behind their positions to divert truth. Of course all of them aren’t corrupt, (except maybe politicians) but we should never let ourselves be blinded due to a position.

I don’t know about you, but when I see someone who is too perfect I get suspicious. I may not see anything obvious, but something in my spirit says be careful. Some of you may have had this intuition before you got married, but ignored it. I’ve known many people like this and usually something does come out later. I don’t think I ever have to worry about people thinking I’m too perfect because I have way too many faults. However, if you do, call me and I’ll straightened that out real quick.

Have you ever talked with someone and they are constantly saying stuff like, “Praise God, Amen or Hallelujah?” You could be telling them about working on your septic system and all you hear is, “Praise God, Amen or Hallelujah.” It’s really annoying and of course it makes me very suspicious. This is how I remember some of my pastors in the past. It was what we expected from them because this was the church language. I don’t feel like we gave them a chance to be real and genuine. We believed a pastor had a special connection with God and had a natural ability to be better than us. We denied them the right to be human. I think this was what they were taught to believe as well. That’s a lot of pressure!

We may think we hide things from man, but we will never hide things from God. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b.

We can be assured that neither we nor anyone else will get away with anything. The truth will eventually come out. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7,8

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