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  • Andre Lamartin

On the Words Left Behind

A righteous man should always remain true to whatever he says and writes, striving to live up to the words he leaves behind, rejecting a hypocritical life where insincere actions only betray dishonest words. Sincere we should always be in regards to all we believe to be true so manipulative mendacity does not compromise interpersonal relationships, human communication and religious life as a whole. To live in a world of lies where the truth is constantly debased as a whore only gives rise to choices always made against our best spiritual interests, if not our mundane worldly ones. A man who fails to abide by his own words is only betrayed by his moral conscience and personal hypocrisy, failing to live up to whatever values and ideas he may have once so convincingly espoused in written form or speech. Is it too much to ask people to respect their own words when so many already indulge in a life of self-serving lies?

This shameful kind of hypocrisy is one of the main stumbling blocks the pious come across when studying religious writing. Many are those who use a yardstick against the world entirely unbecoming of their own personal choices and actions. A self-professed man of religion who secretely violates the very same spiritual laws he publicly claims to uphold is first guilty of religious hypocrisy, a most sinful dereliction of duty. The Bible was originally written and compiled to embody the entire spiritual law universally applied to all souls being divinely judged. Whether a soul is eternally saved or peremptorily condemned to be terminantly destroyed largely depends on whether the individual in question learned how to first love his divine Creator, while later loving those around him, as well as himself. While delivering the Sermon on the Mount, Christ went so far as to profess his love for his enemies, in a soulful attempt to convert even the most hardened of unbelieving hearts.

Treating others as you would like to be treated yourself is another major biblical lesson guiding the dispensation of love across every relationship. The application of this so-called Golden Rule prevents a believer from indulging in the most reprehensible form of heartless deception, always so characteristic of religious hypocrisy. Since true believers would much rather hear God's liberating truth than being falsely comforted by seemingly self-serving lies, those who enjoy hearing the truth should always be ready to speak it themselves. Only by living a sincere and truthful life can a true believer honestly present himself before the world and be truly loved for whom he really is, as opposed to being falsely adored or even conspicuously despised for whom he could only pretend to be. False religious leaders usually wallow in the hypocrisy of their own evil intent and mendacious lifestyles, always in direct contradiction to their publicly professed religious beliefs. Of the many things one can hope to achieve through lying, defending true love was hardly ever one.

This divine love must be faithfully nurtured and piously defended according to the religious Truth commonly referred to as the Gospel. Inspiredly set forward in the Bible, and hopefully taught and defended by the Church, accepting and living in accordance with the Gospel is what truly leads one to spiritual salvation. Inspiredly guided by the Holy Spirit, a whole host of spiritual intercessors are also willing and able to defend believers who place their faith in the Gospel. But despite all the spiritual assistance provided, this does not preclude a true believer from personally defending the application of God's divine law to his own life. The many actions undertaken and plethora of choices made throughout the course of one's lifetime are always divinely judged according to the myriad lessons of the Gospel. As St. Paul once taught, despite the ample scope of the many life choices always so seemingly made available, not all are equally recommended while bearing in mind the protracted wellbeing of oneself and others. When freewill is poorly exercised, forgiveness, atonement and the remission of sins are only rendered possible within the clearly delineated bounds faithfully set by biblical law, sacred illuminating words always empowered by God's all redeeming divine love itself.

Accepting and embracing God's divine law, before compassionately sharing it with others, is what safeguards a true believer from ever indulging in religious hypocrisy. Some have even said that the greatest form of spiritual leadership is the one set only by true personal example, always in obedience to the Gospel itself. Bearing this spiritual law in mind, a righteous man must first learn to rule over himself before ever attempting to rule over others. This is a religious duty owed not only to himself and those around him, but also to God Almighty. Judging others according to a divine standard always unapplied to oneself may be deemed self-serving only if divine justice were exhasperatingly blind, self-righteously hypocritical and obtusely corrupted. How grateful can one be that a perfect God can only dispense a perfect justice, precisely as the Gospel itself so sternly demands. Self-professed believers and false religious leaders are always guilty of the most sinful charge of religious hypocrisy when publicly imposing on others the very same Gospel secretely eschewed by themselves.

Wholeheartedly embracing religious hypocrisy is quite simply a capital violation of the two most important commandments in the Bible, at least in so far as spiritual salvation is concerned. A pious man who loves God with his whole mind, heart and soul would hardly have any trouble demonstrating how his most sincere words, moral choices and actions are clearly revealing of this love. Though false, superficial appearances can be occasionally deceiving, the truth can never be entirely hidden from all-seeing divine eyes. Even when lies and deception are insidiously used by others to tarnish and compromise one's public image, the divine would always be able to clearly see through the devlish scheme, satanic stratagem or demonic ruse. Provided one has the requisite faith and accompanying humility to survive and overcome false accusations, hope in divine justice should never be so tragically lost. No wonder Christ first warned us that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, while those who humble themselves will be exalted. Although great patience may also be required to fully witness and understand the operation of divine justice, time can only be said to be on our side. Living for eternity requires one not to bow before the painful daily vicissitudes of life, while facing and overcoming the seemingly tragic passing of time itself.

Obedience to the second most important commandment of biblical law also demands one eschew all religious hypochrisy. Abiding by the second commandment exigently requires a man to love his neighbor by first shunning hypocrisy himself. A man can only be said to abide by his own words, and accompanying self-professed religious beliefs, if they are entirely corroborated by his individual conduct, moral behavior and personal life story. Always lying to others as to oneself was never the divine letter of the law. To love his neighbor as himself, a Christian must not apply to others religious standards of personal behavior entirely unapplied to oneself, lest the ample scope and requisite importance of divine judgement be entirely disparaged. All-knowing as the Bible purports God to be, nothing is ever hidden from his prying eyes, especially while divine justice is served. A mendacious and hypocritical man who fools the entire world should never hope to fool God himself. Only when the truth concealed by every lie and false superficial appearance is finally revealed, can a man truly be seen for whom he really is and what he verily stands for. No wonder those historically deemed great by the deceptive eyes of the world are rarely deemed divinely great by the omniscient, all-seeing eyes of God.

This candid belief motivates the pious to sincerely live not only by our own words, but also by those of the Gospel. This holds true even while the disheartening values of this fallen world so sternly command otherwise. As once biblically noted on St. James 4:4, "Whosoever therefore would be a friend of this world only makes himself an enemy of God." If amity with a violent, callous and mendacious world leads a religious leader to embrace a life of unabashed hypocrisy, such amity should be abandoned because the atheistic values of a fallen world are never compatible with the divine values of the Gospel. A mendacious world that falsely accuses true believers can only render false judgements entirely unbecoming of the Truth defended by God himself. Although having enmity with a fallen world certainly requires much in the way of sincere religious renunciation, leading a righteous, truthful life should not be seen as one of the many personal sacrifices adamantly required by spiritual salvation. Never to be treated as a burdensome imposition, accepting, embracing and sharing the truth should always be a welcome, alleviating pleasure in life, even despite all the ensuing persecution one is liable to suffer. As Christ himself once said in St. Matthew 11:29-30, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Expecting others to live by spiritual laws entirely unapplied to oneself is a disheartening form of religious hypocrisy. This spiritual malady afflicts all false believers, particularly conspiring against those in leadership roles, only to undermine the religion as a whole. First sounding the alarm more than two millennia ago, Christ sternly warned in St. Matthew 23:2-7,13-14, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a single finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see: they make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long, they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues, they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplace and to be called 'Rabbi' by others... Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypochrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of Heaven on people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

More than two millennia after this prescient warning was first ominously proferred, wondering whether the Apostles themselves were free of this hypocrisy has been one debilitating spiritual problem recently encountered while trying to study the New Testament. Believing the Apostles actually lived by their sacred words once so honestly left behind is of the utmost importance. First living by what these divine words preach is the primary responsibility of one who writes in defense of the Gospel, even when only God himself is watching. Doing so free of any pecuniary motivation also helps to strengthen the faith of those who believe there is much in this world that should never be up for sale, religious conviction being only one such example. The minute one tries to market Christianity, as just another good merely to be bought and sold, his own faith is severely compromised along the way. As Christ himself once commanded on St. Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Opposing religious hypocrisy is also important for another good reason. The provenance of religious words is established not only by faith alone but also by the life stories of the evangelists and believers themselves. As the book of Acts and so many other biblical verses so clearly indicate, actions and moral choices are necessary to corroborate whatever sincere religious words may have to convey. Within the religious world this implies living in accordance with the divine words once so lovingly left behind despite the many spiritual trials and tragic vicissitudes of life. Holding a man accountable for his words is simply to respect the value of what he has to say. Setting a personal example that corroborates what is said and written only strengthens the value of the words left behind, not to mention the true value of oneself. Contrary to what popular belief may have to say, no one has ever been made any greater before the all-seeing eyes of God by embracing hypocrisy as a religion or as a highly profitable way of life.

While trying to resume my humble study of the Bible, it also pays to consider how the Holy Spirit has inspired the Apostles to convey a truth that vastly surpasses the personal meaning and individual limitations of their own lives. Even if some biblical evangelists may have occasionally faltered and betrayed themselves along life's tortuous way, the belief they were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit renders their words still deserving of enormous consideration and great respect. The divine standard according to which the meaning of life is determined and against which souls are divinely judged is aptly found in the Bible, but only for Christians having the requisite faith, inspired understanding, resilient humility and fervent religious conviction.

In a world that worships manipulation and deception as a means of personal gain, remaining true to my own words and religious beliefs has been a lifelong concern, one never held in vain. When religion is transformed into a business, satisfying popular demand may lead one to stray from what biblical teachings may so dearly have to say. This has been a stumbling block for many churches, leading to great division, as even the Catholic church itself should admit. Paraphrasing one of Christ's many teachings, a man must first come to terms with his own hypocrisy before helping others to address theirs. This certainly applies to the words we leave behind.

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