My son posted an article written by a young woman who was chastised by an older woman for wearing holy jeans in church. She was accused of being disrespectful to God. I am reminded of the charge Jesus made against the Pharisees about being whitewashed tombs. They looked good and clean on the outside, but they were empty on the inside.
We are good at making ourselves look good on the outside, but that isn’t what counts.
Jesus was pretty clear when he told us that we should stop judging by appearances. How did this elderly woman know that the young church attendee was disrespecting God? God judges the heart, and God alone. He weighs our motives. The people who look good to us, may be anything but good, and the opposite is certainly true as well.
It’s no wonder that millennials are leaving the church in big numbers. If this older woman represents what is important to the average churchgoer today, the Pharisees are still leading the way in religious circles.
The thing is that human nature in the 1st Century is the same as human nature in the 21st Century.
We live with an illusion that we are somehow more enlightened, less barbaric and more advanced than our ancient counterparts. We want to believe that we have made progress over time and are getting better. We don’t stone people to death for moral crimes anymore (at least in many countries). Activists parade in the public square today to support human rights rather than gathering in the public square to watch executions (in many countries anyway). But we shouldn’t ignore the signs that suggest a different narrative.
More people were killed by genocidal rulers in the 20th Century than in all the previous centuries combined. Look at the awful number of people killed in Chicago alone by handguns every week, month and year. We don’t burn babies on the outstretched arms of Molech anymore; we tear them limb from limb in the womb. In many countries around the world, we still stone people to death, cut off their limbs, burn their faces and even through homosexuals off of roofs with the sanction of social and governmental blessing.
Appearances are deceiving.