“In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness…. You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” – Matthew 23:28,33, NIV
These are Jesus’ own words to the Pharisees and other religious Jewish leaders in his day. Do they sound meek and mild? They sound angry to me.
My point in quoting these verses today is to demonstrate how Jesus is not a pushover. He exhibited anger in His time here on earth. And it seems nothing angered him more than religious hypocrisy and the destruction such hypocrisy caused on those looking to such wicked religious leaders.
What puts fire in my bones and hurts my heart are stories of religious leaders using God’s name to further abuse faithful spouses and/or justify adultery. I suspect Jesus is going to deliver some rather angry words to such people on that final day. My hope is to not be one of them.
When it comes to adultery, I strongly believe people commit adultery while knowing full-well it is wrong. It is hard to avoid the broad cultural injunctions against cheating on one’s spouse. The Ten Commandments have worked their way deeply into our culture even if we cannot name all ten anymore.
So, I see adulterous spouses in a similar light as the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They know they are doing something wrong. It isn’t for lack of knowledge that they commit adultery. It is for lack of character. Also, often times, they employ God’s name to try to justify their wickedness, and they refuse to repent changing their behavior even when confronted. Instead, they are more than happy to destroy the lives around them raping their spouse’s soul and causing havoc to their families/communities (see post here). Even better, they seem to want to do this without looking bad.
Even when Jesus is using harsh words, I believe he is acting in love. He is trying to wake up the Pharisees to the danger to their own souls before it is too late. Obviously, he does not operate as “nice” in such dire times.
Similarly, we need more pastors and people willing to confront bluntly the sin of adultery. It is causing damage to the faithful spouse, their kids, and the community. We don’t need any more “Love Dare”-like challenges to “fix” this problem. And we don’t need more enabling of the adultery through accepting less than full repentance. The time for accepting excuses or the blame-shift is over.
These are dire times.
“Nice” will not cut it.
Like Jesus states about the religious leaders,
How will the adulterous spouse escape the condemnation of hell?
They won’t if they do not stop sinning and repent.