It’s been 45 years, but I still remember it. My friend, Joe, and I were as close as two friends in their 20s could be – even though we had a couple of differences.
I was single, Joe was married and had two of the most precious daughters I’d ever known. One child was four or five, the other a year or two older. Joe was a Baptist. I was an agnostic Jew. Once in a while he invited me to visit his church. I never attended. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Joe and I met at the taxicab company where we’d both found employment. But after hours, we routinely partied together at bars to pick up on women. We were often successful – if for nothing else than a one-night-stand in the back of our cars or at my apartment.
Oh, did I mention Joe was married and had two wonderful, precious daughters?
Although I claimed to not believe in God, I still knew right from wrong. I also knew that God – if He existed – did not approve in the least of what Joe was doing as he cheated again and again against his wife and children.
I never said to him what I was thinking each time he invited me to attend his church. I didn't tell him I would never darken the door of his church since he obviously didn’t believe what his church taught. Why should I be like him, not only in sexual sin, but in religious hypocrisy as well?
And so, Christian: What’s my point? Be holy. To the best of your ability, be holy. People who know of our Christian label – whether Catholic or Protestant – people know a serial hypocrite when they see one.
I’m not talking about the occasional fall into sin. I am talking about a lifestyle.
Our friends and neighbors are not fooled.
And neither is God.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 7: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’