Gal 2:11 – But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
12 – For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
13 – And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 – But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (ESV)
Paul hammers home something that is sorely lacking in my life today–the willingness to confront hypocritical behavior and beliefs.
I am still challenged by the politically correct views of the culture in which I live. That is, when I see something that stands out in contradiction to what I believe is clear in the Word, I fall back on “You are entitled to your beliefs.” I do not confront and challenge the hypocrisy that seems to contradict the clear teaching of scripture.
Yet, I am not immune to hypocrisy in my own life.
When I was in Bible College, I was visiting my parents over the Christmas holidays. At Christmas dinner, my mother liked for everyone to have a glass of wine, and I had no qualms about sharing a glass with the family. During the meal, a friend from the college showed up at the door, and I felt very uncomfortable with his arrival. Was I not somewhat like Peter in the above quoted passage?
To me, it was hypocritical to have that sort of feeling. Either it was okay to have a glass of wine, or it was not.
I think the problem with confrontation exists in my life for at least four reasons:
- I’ve made incorrect calls in the past.
- I’ve seen others abused by such confrontation.
- Fear (of doing either one of those mentioned above).
- Fear of the animosity generated by speaking the truth.
To be sure, there are times when, with limited understanding of God’s dealings in a person’s life, I have gone in to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” (2 Tim. 4:2) and only caused grief for myself and the one whom I was trying to ‘help’. As a result, I now look for any possibility that “this may not be the right time” to bring something to someone’s attention.
I have heard more times than I can count that “whenever you point the finger, there are three pointing right back at you.” I’ve also heard the ‘judge not’ routine; and the ‘log in my own eye;’ and ‘we are not God’s policemen.’
I have spent many hours counselling those who have been hurt by someone who came in like gangbusters to correct some seeming misstep by a believer. I am also one who has suffered that kind of abuse.
As a result, I am now crippled with a fear of “getting it wrong” when dealing with one of God’s chosen.
But, the Lord has not given up on me. He continually brings someone my way who needs to be helped along the path, who wants to be helped along the path.
And in the process of my struggling with the correct words so that I minister life and not death, God gives grace and people are being restored.
However, as I write this, I am in contact with one whose world has been shaken. This one is no longer walking close to the Lord, and is even having doubts as to God’s existence, because of the ‘evil’ this one sees happening to and through others in the family.
I have been trying to make a gentle call to return to the Lord, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. The person essentially says, “Speak to me plainly.”
The problem this one is dealing with is not so much behavior, as it is belief. The belief that is based in self-righteousness manifests itself in blaming the others who are involved.
Confrontation will soon be called for, because the hypocrisy of self-righteousness is a cancer that destroys any life it touches.
Will I be able to “be kind to (this one), able to teach, patiently enduring (the) evil (of vehement anger), correcting (this one) with gentleness” (2Tim. 2:24-25)?
To compound the problem, this is a person with whom I made a major mistake with a false confrontation almost 30 years ago; and now this one is back in my life after more than 25 years.
Who says there is no second chance with God?
NOTE: This is the second in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Galatians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter two of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put this link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.