Today’s Readings: Job 15:1-35; Matthew 5:27-36; Psalm 55:1-15
When I was active in the field of politics, I always found it interesting the way a candidate’s faith was treated. As I was most active in the field during the 1990’s, there were a couple expectations laid out for candidates.
Most candidates, for instance, were expected to publicly claim a faith (in Eastern Washington – where I lived at the time – the expectation was that that faith would be Christian) and they were expected to throw in an occasional reference to that faith (i.e. the President saying some version of “God bless America” in their State of the Union speech). As long as candidates did those sorts of things in public, they were considered electable. Most folks paid little attention to whether or not their positions reflected the faith they professed with their lips – but that would be fodder for another day.
Of course, that standard wouldn’t be good enough for Jesus. In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus is quoted as saying: “And don’t say anything you don’t mean… You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk… You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace” (Matthew 5:35-36 from The Message).
Of course political candidates aren’t the only ones guilty of this practice. Many of us do that as well as Jesus pointed out when he talked about those who said “I’ll pray for you” and never do – or say “God be with you” and don’t mean it. Ouch!
Today, I would invite you to explore the ways you invoke (or don’t invoke) your faith in your everyday language. Do your references to your faith reflect what you really believe, or are you simply giving people what you think they want to hear? Til next time…