The world integrity seems to be missing from the recently released “Encyclopaedia of Christian Words”. The authors apparently considered that it had fallen into disuse in recent years, so much so that it no longer deserved a place in their publication.
Of course I jest – but once again, as so often recently, I met this week with a christian devastated to discover dishonesty, deception and financial shenanigans at the heart of their denomination.
The truth is I could take you to more than one “church” where, on a Sunday morning, some of those who meet you at the door and shake your hand in welcome – will, just as casually, cheat you and lie to you on Monday. Sadly, as my friend had discovered, this is not restricted to the pew or local church. And then some wonder why our churches are not seeing any growth!
Just last week a friend asked me if I saw any signs of spiritual renewal within the church in my community. I had to be honest and say that from where I am sitting that hope is, in fact, further away than it ever was. How can people pray for spiritual renewal on a Sunday and cheat and lie throughout the rest of the week? It is not possible! And such behaviour is not restricted to one group or denomination – it is universal. The cry of God must surely be – “repent”!
The truth is such hypocrisy is destroying the faith of honest believers as well as causing irreparable damage to the reputation of the christian community and the God we claim to represent. We cannot expect any blessing while such a situation is allowed to continue.
Another thing that is happening as the result of the breakdown of integrity in the church is that those who have it are separating themselves in increasing numbers from all forms of christianity. Thus the situation goes from bad to worse.
As I pondered these things again, as I have so often there past months, an old friend directed my attention to the words of God to the prophet Ezekiel:
“But you, son of man, your own people are talking about you everywhere—in the streets and at doorsteps—saying to their kinsmen, “Come listen to what Ezekiel is saying. He has a word from the Eternal.” They come to you, just as people flock to see someone famous. My people sit at your feet and seem to hang on your every word, but they never apply those sacred instructions to their own lives. For they act as they speak—with lustful desire—and think only of how they’ll make a profit. To them you are nothing more than a gifted singer of lustful songs, a teller of tales, a master of instruments! They hear what you say but fail to put any of it into practice.”
Ezekiel 33: 30-32 The Voice
The word of God then was – “Repent! Turn from your wicked ways.” I believe today He is saying the same! We choose to ignore such warnings at our peril.