I’ve been stuck on some verses all week from Psalm 55 (13-15):
For it is not an enemy who taunts me---
then I could bear it;
It is not an adversary who deals insolently with me --
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God’s house we walked in the throng.
Matthew Henry in his Concise Commentary says, “No wickedness so distresses the believer, as that which he witnesses in those who profess to be of the church of God.” Henry counsels that we should not be surprised by corruptions and disorders of the church on earth and that God often destroys the enemies of the church by dividing them.
As I’ve been meditating on this Psalm, I’ve remembered a time many years ago when I was new to a church and relied on a dating relationship to rekindle my faith. When the relationship wasn’t honored, I blamed God. This “Christian” professed to be a believer, but didn’t act at all in his personal relationships like the Jesus I was reading about in the Bible. I retreated into feeling that church was a place you went to out of obligation, or when you had nothing better to do, not a place where you could trust people and grow.
Just because someone says they are a “Christian” and “saved” doesn’t mean they lead a Christ-like life. As our Psalmist reminds us, if you were an adversary I would know to protect myself and hide from you, but I trusted you as a friend
and you have betrayed me. Only observing quiet actions over a period of time distinguishes those who boast of their Christianity from those you quietly live it.
Encountering these false Christians derailed my faith for more than 20 years. I’m grateful that I regained my ability to trust and love, but it was only after I met people who say they are Christians and really are. I wonder how many people no longer attend a church or want to be part of a community because of their encounter with a false Christian. We may never get another chance to show them Christ’s love.
When we see people approach others in anger or try to shame them into going to church, we can be sure that it is a false Christian speaking. Just like 2000 years ago, a real Christian loves God and his neighbor. And we can rest in assurance that God will destroy His enemies.
I pray that we all encounter a real Christian today. Maybe it is you.
Blessings, my friend,
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