The Compassion of Jesus and Social Responsibility

Sermon Transcript/Article - The Compassion of Jesus and Christian Social Responsibility


Compassion is a form of love that results in acts of kindness and mercy. Compassion is stirred up within humans when they encounter people who are suffering. The Bible speaks to us about compassion. In the Old Testament - Zechariah 7:9 states "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. In the New Testament, we read in Colossians 3:12as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In Exodus 22 we can learn about God’s expectations concerning compassion. And throughout the Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John) we can observe the compassionate example of Jesus. This message is about compassion –not only the compassion of Jesus. But it’s also about the compassion and social responsibility of Christians.

Text - Exodus 22:21-31

In Exodus 22 vs 21 -31 (NIV) the Bible  lists specific examples given by God to Moses and the Israelites on how to apply the 10 Commandments. In these verses who will hear about compassion and social responsibility.

21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. 25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate. 28 “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people. 29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. “You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day. 31 “You are to be my holy people.

God’s Holy People

This section of the Bible comes shortly after the 10 Commandments that are listed in Exodus 20 and it is part of the laws listed throughout chapters 21-23. These laws focus more on specific examples and case studies that include - how to treat servants, issues regarding personal injury, protection, and property, justice and mercy, social responsibility, how to worship, keeping  the Sabbath, and observing annual festivals. All of these rules and laws were for the Israelites. God knew that this large group of people which was now free from Egyptian control and slavery was struggling with their human nature and they needed His guidance. They needed to know how to get along with each other and to know what God expected from them. God called the Israelites “His chosen people” and He set them apart from the rest of the world in hopes that their holy living would be example to others. They were to be followers of God. So, He gave them the 10 Commandments and other rules to guide. These rules were not for the Egyptians, not for the Canaanites or any other group of people around them. God was only addressing His people that chose to follow Him. And that was stated in Exodus 22 verse 31when God said to Israel- You are to be my holy people. God had a special plan for  the Israelites to be His representatives to the other people living around them – the Gentiles (which includes everyone else who isn’t Jewish) and this was so that the Gentiles could also come to know God. He wanted the nations to be blessed through Israel. However, the Israelites did not do a very good job at representing God. Instead of following the 10 Commandments and His other rules, they betrayed God and followed the foreign gods of the Gentiles. So God sent His Son, Jesus, to save the entire world not just the Israelites. Jesus had a ministry on earth in which he preached about God to all – including the Gentiles. He commissioned these new followers of His, both Jews and Gentiles, to be the new blessing to the nations. Romans 11 explains this by comparing Gentile believers to the branches of a wild olive tree that have been grafted into the original cultivated olive tree of Israel. So now Gentiles, too, are partakers of God’s promises and can inherit His blessings of salvation. The final tree represents the collective people of God, both the natural branches, which are the Jews, and the wild braches, the Gentiles. So, this new group of collective believers is called the church –and it includes all people, of every race and nationality who have chosen to become followers of God.

So now the 10 Commandments and rules of God are for Jews and Gentiles, for His church, for His individual followers to help them live holy lives. They are not for the entire nation of  America, or Egypt or any other nation in the world. God did not intend for us to impose these laws and commandments on everyone else who has no interest in following Him. God did not call us to become the morality police. God wants His followers to focus on themselves and doing what’s right. The people of God, the church, we are responsible for our own behavior, not for everyone else’s behavior. You can’t force God’s rules and instructions on people who don’t want them. So, putting up a list of the 10 Commandments in a public building, will not force people to improve their behavior. People only want to follow God’s rules after they have made a commitment to follow Him and then they will have the Holy Spirit living in them. The Holy Spirit changes each of us individually. We don’t have the human ability to perfectly follow God’s rules of holy living, that’s why we need Jesus as our Savior. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit living in us, to help us obey Him, to help us show compassion the way that Jesus does.

Social Responsibility in Exodus 20

Among all these specific examples of how to apply the 10 commandments is a special section listed in chapter 22 that I read earlier. It is about social responsibility. In this section, God tells His people that He expects them to show respect to everyone regardless of their social standing and other differences. He gives specific examples of people that can be easily exploited such as foreigners, widows, orphans, and the poor. God wants to make sure that the most vulnerable in society are protected, because He knows how easy it is to take advantage of these people. And unfortunately, we see this in our own country. Yes. Here in the great United States of America people are being exploited. For example: there are some employers taking advantage of immigrant farm workers by underpaying them and giving them substandard living conditions. There are children who cannot protect themselves that are being physically and sexually abused. Elderly people are taken advantage of financially. Poor people are offered payday loans with annual interest rates as high as 400%. There are hate crimes targeting people based on their race, sexual orientation, or religion. We even have human trafficking and under aged prostitution in this country. And God hates this. He has mercy on those who are mistreated and oppressed. Exodus 22, Vs. 27 even states God’s own words saying: When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

Jesus is Compassionate

In the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - we learn much about Jesus, who is God. The New Testament shows us multiple examples of the compassion of Jesus. Much of what Jesus did during His ministry on Earth was done to show His credibility – that He was sent from God, that He was God. But in addition to seeing His credibility, His miracles show us the great compassion  He had for people. And this compassion, a reflection of God’s love, is what made Him so attractive. People gave up their current lives and followed Him around traveling by foot. We see the compassion of Jesus - when He freed demon possessed people from evil spirits, when He healed blind people and those with leprosy. He also healed a woman with internal bleeding, a paralyzed man, and a man with a withered hand, Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, a Roman centurion's servant, and other people with other physical conditions. Jesus showed compassion to a widow when he brought her dead son back to life. In Mark 6 we see that a huge crowd of people showed up to see and hear Jesus. Verse 34 says: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.” And then he fed this hungry group all the fish and bread that they could eat. In Luke chapter 7, we see a woman who earned her living as a prostitute. She found Jesus, worshipped Him by cleansing His feet with her tears and perfume. Jesus knew her sinful life, but He showed her compassion, forgave her sins, and told her to go in peace - that her faith had saved her.

Jesus also gave us examples of how to have compassion through the example of the prodigal’s son and the good Samaritan. In Luke 15 the prodigal’s son, who had left his father and squandered away the wealth his father had given to him, returned home. Verse 20 says that when the father saw him, he ran to him, was filled with compassion for his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Although the son did not deserve forgiveness and to be accepted by his father – he was, because of His father’s love and compassion. And this father’s example also represents God’s love and compassion for us, too. We are so undeserving, we ignore God and we insult Him, yet He is always waiting for us with open arms to welcome us back with love and compassion. In Luke 10 we have the story of the Good Samaritan told by Jesus himself. This example shows the compassion of a Samaritan (a person considered to be in a low class, who crossed social boundaries to care for a person in a different class.

Jesus had compassion for the marginalized members of society. His compassion was liberating for women. Actually, Jesus’ relationship with women was considered revolutionary and radical in a patriarchal society in which women were treated as social and spiritual inferiors to men. Women were used to being bartered off by their fathers and husbands. They had no property rights and were not allowed to learn about spiritual truths. They were considered unclean, untouchable, and in need of purification after their monthly cycles and childbirth. But Jesus challenged the traditional gender restrictions and taboos. He allowed women to touch Him, to speak with Him, and to eat with Him. He healed women and forgave their sins. He taught them spiritual truths. He encouraged them to witness for Him. He allowed women to travel with Him as disciples and to help support His ministry of proclaiming the kingdom of God. Jesus showed women compassion and He publically challenged their traditional roles. Like the Prodigal, the Good Samaritan, and Jesus - we, too, are expected to show compassion for all people regardless of their social standing, race, gender, or religion. Jesus does not discriminate. He makes Himself, His love, and His salvation available to anyone who wants to accept Him and follow Him.

Compassionate Christians

In our country, we like to tell lawyer jokes and lawyers don’t really have the best reputation for being compassionate, but in actuality many lawyers are compassionate. In our own communities we have lawyers that work for non-profit organizations who help represent women in domestic abuse situations and low income people who don’t have the financial means to represent themselves. One of the most impressive Christian ministries that I have heard of is International Justice Mission. This organization has a global team of lawyers, investigators, social workers, and community activists working to rescue victims of slavery, child prostitution, and police brutality. They use the court system to hold human traffickers and other criminals accountable. They also provide counseling and help for the survivors of this violence and abuse. What a wonderful way for Christians to show compassion.

Mother Teresa was one of the most well-known compassionate women. She dedicated her life to serving Jesus by showing compassion to those who weren’t being cared for. She established homes for those with leprosy, orphanages, a nursing home, health clinics, hospices for the dying, and a home for people infected with HIV/AIDS. She rescued children from a hospital in a warzone. She ministered to the hungry in Ethiopia and radiation victims at Chernobyl. Her example motivated many other people to live out compassion in their own lives. At the time her death, Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity had over 4,300 sisters and brotherhood serving in her 610 missions in 123 countries.

Henri Nouwen, not only was he a pastor and priest, college professor, writer and public speaker, but he was also the personal caregiver for a disabled man and he dedicated himself to praying for people. He had this to say about compassion. “When I really bring others into my innermost being and feel their pains, their struggles, their cries in my own soul, then I leave myself, so to speak, and become them; then I have compassion. Compassion lies at the heart of our prayer for our fellow human beings. When I pray for the world, I become the world; when I pray for the endless needs of the millions, my soul expands and wants to embrace them all and bring them into the presence of God. But in the midst of that experience I realize that compassion is not mine, but God’s gift to me. I cannot embrace the world, but God can. I cannot pray, but God can pray in me.”

Conclusion and Application

Jesus was compassionate. His compassion and holiness is what made him attractive to the people who didn’t yet know Him. They were drawn to Jesus and accepted His message about God, because of the kind and compassionate way that He acted. He didn’t win converts by demanding that people follow His rules. The rules of holy living came after they made a personal decision and commitment to follow Him.

The application for this sermon is pretty straight forward. We, His followers are to be imitators of Jesus and represent Him well to others. Therefore, we too are to show compassion. And we have multiple opportunities throughout our community and the world. We can start by showing compassion to our own family members, even our own children. What a wonderful opportunity and honor it is that parents can represent the compassion of Jesus to their children. We can pray that Jesus will open our eyes to the needs of people in our workplace. We can encourage people in our community by volunteering at the homeless shelter and soup kitchens and other social service entities. We can show compassion to people throughout the world by financially supporting children through sponsorship programs and supporting ministries that meet the various needs of those who are suffering. And there are so many more ways to show compassion. Jesus knows you well and if you ask Him, He will give you a special way to show compassion – a way that works well with your personality and your opportunities. People are emotionally overwhelmed with their problems. They need God’s people to care and to help. Showing the compassion of Jesus is a wonderful way to live as a witness for Him.

Domestic Violence - It's Even a Problem for Christians

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Sermon Transcript/Article: Domestic Violence – It’s Even a Problem for Christians


My message today is about a serious issue - Domestic Violence. It’s a big problem, even for Christians. In recent years there have been more people speaking out against this problem, this crime, especially with the media drawing attention to both high profile cases and also the local stories. But, for the most part, Domestic Violence is still taboo to talk about among Christians, especially in churches. My purpose for this message is not only to draw awareness to the issue, but foremost it is to speak to the women who have been abused. My hope is to provide you with helpful information and helpful options for you to consider. And also to give you hope, real hope and comfort. But this message is for everyone else, too. Because if the statistics are correct then at least 1 in 4 women experience physical violence in their lifetime. So, the chances are - you know someone who has been physically abused. These women are not only suffering physically, but especially emotionally. And spiritually – they question God and they wonder why the church doesn’t help them. They need empathy, compassion, love, and good advice. This is a very serious issue and a Christian leader can make things worse by giving the wrong advice. So, please listen with an open mind and with a compassionate heart. Because we are the church. We need to reflect the love of Jesus. And 1 in 4 women in our population need to experience this kind of love.

A Secret Problem Among Christians

Chuck Colson boldly addressed this issue on his Break Point radio show April 19, of 2009 in his message called – An Ugly Secret: Domestic Violence within the Church.
This is what he said:  “A woman I’ll call “Marleen” went to her pastor for help. “My husband is abusing me,” she told him. “Last week he knocked me down and kicked me. He broke one of my ribs.”

Marleen’s pastor was sympathetic. He prayed with Marleen—and then he sent her home. “Try to be more submissive,” he advised. “After all, your husband is your spiritual head.”
Two weeks later, Marleen was dead—killed by an abusive husband. Her church could not believe it. Marleen’s husband was a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. How could he have done such a thing?

Tragically, studies reveal that spousal abuse is just as common within the evangelical churches as anywhere else. This means that about 25 percent of Christian homes witness abuse of some kind.

These numbers may shock you—and they certainly shocked me—so you may be wondering if the studies were done by secular researchers hostile to the church. I can assure you, sadly, they were not.

Denise George, a gifted writer and the wife of theologian Timothy George, has published a new book called What Women Wish Pastors Knew. “Spouse abuse shocks us,” George writes. “We just cannot believe that a church deacon or member goes home after worship . . . and beats his wife.” Tragically, however, George notes, some of these men justify their violence “by citing biblical passages.”

Well, obviously they’re misinterpreting Scripture. In Ephesians 5:22, husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church; beating wives black-and-blue hardly constitutes Christian love. First Peter tells husbands to live with their wives considerately. And the Bible makes it clear that the church has no business closing its eyes to violent men. In 1 Timothy 3:3, the church is told that when it comes to choosing leaders, they must find men who are “not violent but gentle,” sober, and temperate.

The amount of domestic abuse in Christian homes is horrifying, and the church ought to be doing something about it—not leave the problem to secular agencies. But this is one mission field where the church is largely missing in action. And sometimes pastors, albeit with good intentions, do more harm than good.

George sites a survey in which nearly 6,000 pastors were asked how they would counsel women who came to them for help with domestic violence. Twenty-six percent would counsel them the same way Marleen’s pastor did: to continue to “submit” to her husband, no matter what. Twenty-five percent told wives the abuse was their own fault—for failing to submit in the first place. Astonishingly, 50 percent said women should be willing to “tolerate some level of violence” because it is better than divorce.
Advice like this, George warns, often puts women “in grave danger”—and in some cases, can be a death warrant.
I appreciate Chuck Colson and other Christians who are bravely addressing this issue. But, it’s a hard problem to deal with. Not only is it a huge embarrassment to the church. But there is so much fear involved about knowing what to do and wondering if we will do it right. It’s much easier to just ignore the issue and hope that God will help each woman individually. But a lot of women need someone to talk to and most of them don’t know if they can even go to their pastor. And that is because in the majority of churches the problem remains a secret. No one really wants to talk about it or admit to it.

Characteristics of Domestic Violence

Christina Fox, a licensed mental health counselor, wrote an article for Today’s Christian Women – a magazine published by Christianity Today. I’ll read a portion of her article from the March 2015 issue entitled: The Hidden Problem of Domestic Violence. In her words, Christina clearly explains the common characteristics of domestic violence and how it differs from typical marital conflict.

She says - “Domestic violence is about controlling another person. The abuser uses whatever means necessary to gain and maintain that control. This includes the use of threats, manipulation, intimidation, and force. If emotional and psychological abuse is effective, there might not be physical abuse, but once the victim resists or stands up, the physical abuse is certain to begin. The abuser (may) breaks things, punch his fist into the wall, hurt the family pet, and do other intimidating actions to show her that he can and will do the same to her. The victim lives her days walking on eggshells, never knowing when her abuser will explode.

The abuser uses threats to manipulate and control his victim. He may threaten to hurt himself, to leave the victim, to take her children, or to tell lies about her to others, including the authorities, if she doesn’t do what he tells her to do. The abuser also tries to control all areas of the victim’s life.

The victim is constantly belittled, put-down, and humiliated. Her abuser makes her feel stupid, inferior, and worthless. She doubts herself, and over time she may even think she’s crazy. She could be very well-educated and well-skilled, but as a result of psychological abuse, the victim will grow to believe that what her abuser tells her is true: (that) she is worthless.

The abuser often appears to be different in public (than) at home. He may be a charismatic, upstanding citizen. He may hold positions of respect in the community. This makes it hard for people to believe (that) he would hurt the people in his home whom he’s supposed to love.

People often tend to believe the abuser over the victim. In some cases, they may even tell the victim that she brought this situation on herself in some way. They may encourage her to be a “better wife,” hoping (that) if she “improves,” everything will be okay.

All of these factors play a role in keeping a victim from leaving or trying to get help. She doesn’t think anyone would believe her. Because she’s often financially dependent on her abuser, she is unsure of where she would escape. She is fearful of what he might do and believes it is safer to stay. Not only that, but as a result of the constant psychological abuse she has endured, she might believe that she is deserving of such treatment.

The difference between a marriage in which conflict occurs and one in which there is domestic violence is the issue of power and control. In such a relationship, there is no working things out. The abuser is always right and always gets his way. It’s not a matter of him needing to learn effective communication skills; it goes much deeper than that. It’s a relationship ruled by fear, not love. It’s one where the victim is controlled, not cherished. It’s a relationship that doesn’t simply say unkind things in the heat of an argument; it’s one that leaves deep and abiding scars, both inside and out.”

I am so glad that Christina Fox spoke about the control issue. Domestic violence is not about anger. The abuser does not need to learn how to manage his anger. He does not get so angry that he loses control. Actually, the abuser is very much in control and he purposely uses anger to intimidate his victim in order to get his way. If the abuser truly had an uncontrollable anger problem than you would see him acting violent toward people in his workplace and in his community also. But, he knows that violence wouldn’t be tolerated outside of his home, that there would be consequences for his violent behaviors. But, the abuser believes that he is entitled to have power and control over the victim, especially in his own home, especially if he is the head of the home. So, domestic violence (left unaddressed) will not just “get better”. And it won’t get better, because the wife is praying for him. It won’t get better because she learns to become more submissive. It won’t get better through marriage counseling or relationship seminars. It won’t get better by binding the attacks of Satan. And it won’t get better if she learns how to forgive him. Abuse is not marital conflict. It is a cycle between the abuser and his victim that continues to grow and escalate in frequency and intensity. The violence needs to be addressed. The abuser will not get better until he learns how to deal with his issues of control and manipulation. And most abusers won’t to do that, because their ability to control has worked well for them for a long time, and many don’t want to give that up. There are programs available for abusers to get help, but they never go to them unless they are ordered to by the court.

Characteristics of an Abuser

Are you being abused? Many women question if they are. They feel like it might be abuse, like it’s wrong. But his behavior isn’t to the same extreme that they’ve seen in some movie. The abuse may not have given you visible bruises or a broken bone. So you question if it’s really abuse. Well, if you have to question it -then it probably is abuse. I’m going to give you a list of a few of the things that an abuser will do with the hopes of controlling you. He will start out with emotional and spiritual abuse. But if that doesn’t work, then he will move on to physical abuse. If that doesn’t work, he may get other people involved with the hopes of setting you straight. - He may seem to have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality, may twist around your words and play mind games, force his opinions on you, blame you for anything that goes wrong, give you a “look” that instills fear, undermine you in front of your children, disrespect you with sarcasm or humiliation, throw things or punch walls to scare you, destroy your personal property, threaten to hurt you, your children, or your pets, coerce you to have sex against your will, uses the Bible to excuse his behavior, uses stress or alcohol as an excuse to hurt you, blames you for his destructive behavior, controls the money so you don’t have any to leave, threatens to get custody of the children, threatens to harm himself or kill himself if you don’t obey, makes it difficult for you to work or attend school so you won’t be able to provide for yourself, accuses you of destroying the family, demands that you not talk to someone about family problems, makes you feel like you have to walk on eggshells when he’s around, behaves in ways that make you think you should call the police, manipulates you into keeping silent or dropping the charges against him, throws things at you, physically hurts you without leaving evidence, pushes you, restrains you, slaps you, grabs your neck, or chokes you, throws you down the stairs, kicks you, hits you. Those are some of the common characteristics of an abuser. He may do some of them or most of them.

Help is Available

There is help is available for you. Every woman’s situation is different and very unique from the others. There isn’t just one way to solve your problem. You have a variety of options and only you can decide which ones are best for you and your children, if you have them. It’s important that someone doesn’t choose for you. A professional should not tell you what to do, but will tell you what your options are. You’re used to being controlled. But, you get to make this decision for yourself. You know your situation better than anyone else.

Actually there are a lot options for you to consider. However, one of the most important first steps that you could take is to talk to someone who is understanding and compassionate. You can diffuse a lot of the power that the abuse holds just by telling someone your secret. 

Here are some more options for you to consider: confide in a friend or family member, get counseling from a pastor or counselor, call the 24 hour domestic violence hotline number at 1-800-799-7233 or go to their website at, talk to someone at your local domestic violence organization (they have a wealth of information and free help, a lot of times even free legal representation), attend a support group for victims through your local organization, call the police and press charges, get a protection from abuse order, seek medical attention and have your injuries documented, go to a hotel or women’s emergency shelter, move out, if you decide to stay – it’s a good idea to develop a safety plan in case you have to leave in a hurry which includes extra car keys, cash, and important documents. You can find out more about a domestic violence safety plan by searching for it on the Internet.

A lot of people don’t understand why abused women stay with a violent person. But there really are a lot of reasons why they do. For some women separation or divorce isn’t a realistic option due to their cultural and religious beliefs. Some women believe that leaving may cause even more serious or life-threatening violence. Some think that it’s better to stay so the children can have a father, or a complete family. While some are afraid that he will get custody of the children and she won’t be able to see them very often. Some don’t have the financial means to provide for themselves or their children. She might think that she can’t survive on her own. Some women don’t leave because they feel helpless and powerless due to years of being controlled. She may be hoping, praying, and believing that things will just get better. And some women don’t have the support of family, friends, or a church that she many need in order to take that huge step away from her abuser.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. I wanted to provide you with some practical and useful information. But I understand that you have emotional and spiritual needs, too. And I’d like to offer you some comfort and hope, real hope –found only in God.

An Attribute of God - Love

God cares about you. He hasn’t forgotten you. And though it may be hard for you to feel or believe - He does love you. One of God’s attributes is love. He’s not just loving. He is love. His love is pure, holy, and supernatural and it flows out of His goodness and it positively affects all of His other attributes. He loves us freely and it’s not something that we earn. There is nothing that we can do to make God love us more or any less. Paul wrote in Romans 8 that there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from God’s love – which includes our fears, our worries, spiritual attacks from the enemy, and even other people. An abuser can do a lot of harm, but he can never stop God from loving you. God shows His love to us unconditionally, which is so different than how humans love. A parent may have threatened to stop loving you. A boyfriend may have promised to love you if only you would meet his demands. And an abusive partner may have shown you a selfish, manipulative and controlling form of love which really isn’t true love. But God loves you perfectly. Only He can love you the way that it is described in 1 Corinthians 13, because He is love. And “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, (it) is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” Only God can love you like that - perfectly, all the time, without error.

And you can trust God to sustain you through your adversity- no matter how bad or hopeless it seems. God can even use the abuse that has been done to you (despite it being so evil) to build your spiritual faith and to refine you and to transform you into the child of God that He wants you to be. Your abuser may tear you down and maybe even want to destroy you. But God can use all that to strengthen you. God knows your pain, your emotional suffering, and your feelings of hopelessness. Please trust God. Everyone else in your life may fail you. But trust God because only He knows your future and how things will really turn out for you. God has a plan for your life - a destiny for you to fulfill that is not contingent on what anyone else does to you. God’s will for you will happen despite what an abuser may or may not do. You have to trust God, and find you hope in Him. God will give you the love and acceptance that you so desperately need. Just look for it.

God doesn’t want you to be suppressed by fear. You need to overcome of your fear, because you have some really big things that you need to do. Abuse will not just go away on it’s on. The key to stopping the abuse - is you. You need to stop the cycle of abuse that is being done to you. And I suggest that you talk to a professional about your options. A professional would be a representative at the Domestic Violence organization, a counselor, and some pastors. Then, with guidance from God, you need to figure out which options are best for you and your children, if you have them. You know your situation better than anyone else. You get to decide – not your spouse, or your boyfriend, or your pastor, or your mother, or your friend. As you set boundaries in your own life and make your own choices, you will become stronger and that fear will start to leave. Just starting to talk about the abuse with someone that you can trust will weaken much of the power that is being held in your secret.
Now, your abuser will not be happy with the new decisions you are making. But you will be proud of yourself for admitting the truth and enforcing the truth. You will become empowered to continue standing up for your rights. Don’t expect your abuser to respond well to your boundaries. But if you set them and enforce them, he will learn real quickly that you are serious. So that means that if you say you will call the police the next time he hits you, then you had better call the police. Boundaries only work when you enforce them, but they can work well.

Biblical Text and Conclusion

I’ll conclude with the words of David from Psalm 71 and 34:18. David became a king. However, there was a time when he feared for his life. He hid in caves from men who wanted to kill him. But He kept going to God for strength and comfort. You might be able to relate to David. Some of His words might be your words.

“1 O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free.Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors. O Lord, you alone are my hope. My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long. But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? 20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. (from Psalm 71). The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18)

Are you brokenhearted? Do you feel like your spirit is crushed? Please put your hope in God. He will come to your rescue. He will give you the strength that you need to address the abuse being done to you and to do what you think is best to protect yourself from future abuse.

Are Christians Hypocrites?

Sermon Transcript/Article: Are Christians Hypocrites?


I have 2 emotional charged statements that I would like you hear.

1st : “Christians are hypocrites.” And 2nd: “Well, if that’s how a Christian acts then I want nothing to do with Christianity.” Maybe you’ve said something like that or heard someone else say it. We all know that Christians are supposed to be good, kind, follow the rules, and try to act like God.

But many of them blow it, even in really big ways. They hurt people and make Christianity look back. Their poor representation of God has actually turned people away from wanting to learn about Jesus and making a decision to follow Him.

Now, to be fair, some of these people who claim to be Christians probably aren’t. Even Jesus says that just because you claim to be His follower and you give the appearance in public doesn’t mean that you actually are one. I’ll read what Jesus says about this in Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. 22 When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God's message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ 23 Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’ (Good News Translation)

Jesus Condemned Hypocrisy

Thank goodness that the wonderful life-saving message of Christianity is not based on its members. Christianity is based on Jesus, who sacrificed Himself for our sinful behavior so that we can be forgiven. We can have a restored relationship with God. And we have eternal life with Him.

And he is not hypocritical. Jesus is not the Christian woman who publically pushed for abstinence yet ended up having an affair and destroying her family. Jesus is not the Christian father that physically abused his own child. Jesus is not the priest that gained a child’s trust and then molested him. Jesus is not the outspoken, arrogant pastor that preaches that all homosexuals should burn in hell. He is not the Christian leader or the spouse that uses the Bible or his leadership position to spiritually abuse you. Nor is He the TV evangelist that begs for money yet has his own mansion and expensive car. Jesus - is the perfect, sinless, holy son of God. Actually, He is God.

Text - Matthew 23

In Matthew 23, Jesus spoke out against the religious leaders and He even called them hypocrites. I will read verses 1- 7: “ Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra-long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ (or teacher).”

And then Jesus goes on to say that they win converts to their own religion, but not actually to God. They reinterpreted their laws in order to suit their own purposes. They emphasized minute religious details, yet ignored the more important truths of God such as justice, mercy, and faith. They worked hard to look good on the outside, but inside they were greedy and self-indulgent. They even denied that they too were sinful. They were so bad that they eventually persecuted and killed real followers of Jesus, including Jesus Himself. So, Jesus clearly condemns hypocrisy among His followers and representatives.

Why Some Christians are Hypocritical

So what makes people become hypocritical? Well, it pretty much comes down to pride. We think or pretend that we are better than we really are. Pride is thinking that our way is the right way because we are better. Essentially it is self-worship. When we’re prideful, we don’t need God or other people to help us because we’re already doing it well enough. Christians that have a problem with pride will cling onto the morality that they like, and then force it on others, but they will ignore Biblical truths that they don’t like especially if it’s something sinful that they are struggling with. And some people use Christianity and the Bible to manipulate and control others for some kind of personal gain – maybe for monetary reasons or for their own popularity. You might even see this behavior in some church leaders. It’s called spiritual abuse. And it is wrong.

I’m going to describe a well-known man. This man used Christianity to manipulate others so that he could grow in power. “He made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions which would become the pillars of the new government. He assumed the earnestness of a man weighed down by historic responsibility. He handed out pious stories to the press, especially to the church papers. He showed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength for his great work from it as scores of pious people welcomed him as a man sent from God. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was a master of outward religiosity--with no inward reality! (Today in the Word June 3, 1989). I think it would be hard to find anyone these day who believes that Hitler was actually a Christian. But it sounds like, there once was a time when he had people fooled. He is a perfect example of a hypocrite.

True Christ­-like Character

God has high moral standards for his true followers. He wants us to be Christ-like. However, human beings cannot do this perfectly. They do make mistakes. But making a mistake and not attaining perfection are not the same as being a hypocrite. There are many Christians genuinely trying to live the Christian life, relying on the Holy Spirit to convict them and change them. Numerous Christians live good lives free from hypocrisy and scandal. Many live selfless lives, trying very hard to live by high moral standards. And one such person is a nurse named Charlotte Thrall. I read an article about her called Mercy-Full Nurse in Christianity Today Magazine. I’ll read a portion of the article.

“When Diego was a little boy in Mexico, his abusive father plunged a fireplace poker into the 3-year-old's left eye. Diego and his mother fled to the United States, ending up in Phoenix. But Diego's misery continued. Essentially blind, haunted by memories of his father, and mocked by fellow students, he was suicidal by age 10. His mom was undocumented, with no insurance or access to services. That's when Charlotte Thrall heard about their plight. A nurse who uses her skills to serve Phoenix's uninsured and undocumented, she connected Diego to an ophthalmologist for his eye and a psychiatrist for his anguish. The former crafted a custom contact lens that restored some of Diego's sight. The latter put him on an antidepressant that may have saved the boy's life. All this for free. Today, Diego is a thriving 16-year-old who enjoys playing soccer. If it weren't for Charlotte, he might have ended up as another lost statistic.”

Due to the political climate surrounding immigration, many undocumented Latinos are afraid to seek medical help. Instead of involving herself in the political fight, Charlotte Thrall has dedicated herself to showing compassion. She has been able to help around 2,000 people within seven years - without being paid. And most of her clients have been undocumented. She doesn’t have an office, just a cell phone and a Chevy Tahoe filled with medical supplies. She meets their various physical needs, makes referrals to other medical providers, and offers to pray with them. Charlotte is a good example of a selfless Christian trying to represent Jesus well.

That was just 1 example of Christian that is doing it right. She is looking on at her fellow human beings as Jesus would. Through her empathy and compassion she is doing what she can to help people with their physical and spiritual needs. And this is what Jesus did during His ministry on Earth. Yet even the best representatives of Jesus are still humans who sin. The only One who is truly perfect and without sin is Jesus. He is the only one that can ever live up to God’s perfect holy standards. Only He could truly practice what He preached without ever making a mistake. But we still need to do our best, to work at transforming ourselves to becoming like Christ. And this isn’t going to happen instantly, as soon as we make a commitment to follow Jesus. Plus, we will continue to struggle with the temptation to sin. But Ephesians 4:23-24 instructs us to stop sinning and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. It says “ Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

God is Holy

God wants us to pursue holiness in our lives, because He is holy. Actually, He is the absolute perfect example of being Holy. Bill Bright explains God’s holiness in his book called God – Discover His Character. To be holy means to cut or to separate. God is above, exalted, and separate from all that He created. His holiness also means that He is completely set apart from sin. God is so holy that no one can look upon His glory and live. No one can approach our holy God without a covering of blood to atone for the forgiveness of his sin. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross provided a covering of blood against the anger of God for unconfessed sin. The only thing that can satisfy the judgment of sin demanded by God’s holiness is the shedding of pure, innocent blood. And only Jesus’ blood met this high standard. God is the absolutely pure and righteous being who hates evil. He cannot tolerate any unrighteousness. Habakkuk 1:13 tells us, that God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil; He cannot tolerate wrong (NIV). God’s holiness demands consequences for sin. We have broken His standard of holiness, and His holiness demands that He judge our sin, not ignore or excuse it.” And Jesus paid our consequence for sin for us when He sacrificed himself by dying on the cross.

Bob Hyatt, a pastor of The Evergreen Community in Portland, Oregon says the following concerning the hypocritical reputation of Christianity. “Our churches aren't perfect by any means, and the people serving in those churches are sinful, fallen human beings as well. But there are many pastors out there who are doing their darndest to love people and serve Jesus who don't deserve the same broad brush as the few narcissistic control freaks who have somehow wandered into the ministry. There are more communities of faithfulness who are refuges for hurting people, serving their cities with love than there are abusive churches that use people up and spit them out. If you have been hurt by a church, or by certain pastors, let me say I'm sorry. I too have hurt people in my ministry. Our church has, at times contributed to the problem. I think more often than not, we've done right by people and tried our hardest to be kingdom agents of healing. I don't think we are by any means special. I think the vast majority of pastors and churches have heads and hearts in the right places.

Conclusion and Application

Unfortunately, we will continue to hear about Christians being hypocritical and poorly representing God. You and I will probably have another personal experience in which a Christian hurts us or disappoints us. I really don’t want to be one of those Christians, but I’m afraid that at times I too may misrepresent God and maybe even act hypocritical. That’s not what I want to be like, but if I am that way – I hope that people will look past me and my flaws to see Jesus – the only One that will never hurt you. So, I think that we need to rise above our hurts and disappointments concerning Christians or those who claim to be. Because Jesus is the only one we can absolutely count on to never fail us.
I’d like to leave you with the following 2 challenges:

1st - for the person who has been hurt by a Christian or a church – there are some Christians and fake Chistians out there who are hypocritical. But Jesus is not. He is perfect and He won’t fail you. Give Jesus a chance, it’s a matter of your eternity. He offers you salvation by believing in Him, trusting in Him, and living your life for Him. If you are interested in learning more about Jesus, but not ready to join in on the whole church thing, that’s OK. You can develop a relationship with Him on your own. You can learn about Him and talk to Him without being in a church. There are full copies of the Bible at to read online or you can download Bible apps to your phone. There are thousands of sermons online that you can learn from. You may get to a point where you decide that you would like to visit a group of Christians in a church or a small group setting. I know for myself that it has been really rewarding to belong to a church – being able to worship, pray and socialize with other people who follow Jesus. But if you’re not ready for that - then that’s fine. The most important thing to focus on is your one on one relationship with Him anyhow. However, if you do join a church and it doesn’t feel right – maybe the focus is more on the leaders rather than Jesus, then you might want to move on and look for a Christian community that is right for you because they are out there.

And 2nd - for the person who calls themself a Christian. We have a responsibility to represent Jesus well. The Bible tells us to be transformed from that old sinful way of life. We are supposed to pursue holiness. Remember that we were made in God’s image and therefore we should reflect His character traits. People are watching us and trying to decide whether or not to join in on our spiritual beliefs. Our Christian example may have a lot to do with whether or not they choose to pursue Jesus. How terrible it would be if our bad behavior turned them away from Jesus. Many people can think of examples of Christian who have acted like hypocrites, so we need to correct that disappointment for them and be examples of good, moral, selfless Christians that represent Jesus well.