This past week the full-length mirror in our home broke. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. The most memorable broken full-length mirror in our home was the time I found one of our kids standing inside the mirror frame surrounded by thousands of little pieces. They had pulled the mirror over on themselves and shattered it on their head. Amazingly, they walked away without a scratch.

Most of us probably have a love-hate relationship with mirrors. They help us look our best, but they also reveal our worst. This past Sunday we looked at Romans 2:1–16 and our temptation and tendency to hypocrisy. Spiritually speaking, we are prone to quickly observe and highlight the problems of others while lacking the honesty or courage to look at ourselves in the mirror with the same scrutiny.

I was planning on writing a follow-up blog post to Sunday’s sermon but Mike Stanley, a member at Grace, beat me to the punch, so I’m just going to pass along his thoughts. If you have been around Grace for any length of time, you’ve have had a chance to observe Mike as a passionate follower of Jesus and leader of men. If you’re a male 13 years or older and you want to grow in Christ, then you should check out 222 Men’s Fellowship that Mike leads.

Thanks, Mike. It is great to see God’s work in your life. May your thoughts sharpen, convict, and encourage us to be more like Jesus.

October 9, 2017

Greetings, Guys. Have you read 2 Thessalonians 1:3–8 recently? Here’s the text:

2 Thessalonians 1:3–8 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These verses honestly make us feel pretty good about the fact our enemies and those who treat us poorly are going to get theirs from God. But yesterday Pastor Jonathan Wiley challenged us that we need to look at the “hypocrite in the mirror.” How often have I judged others for their behavior, their actions, even their thoughts? As my friend Gene Graves told me, “When we judge we are putting ourselves in the place of God.”

The greatest secular criticism of Christians is that we are hypocrites. A hypocrite is someone who claims to be something he isn’t. If you are really a Christ follower you shouldn’t be a hypocrite because you should know exactly what you are, “a sinner saved by grace.” Matthew 7:1 is one of the world’s favorite verses because it says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” Society always feels judged but they don’t realize it isn’t the Christians who are judging them; it’s their own conscience or the Holy Spirit to convict them unto salvation.

Don’t believe me? Look at Romans 2:14–16:

Romans 2:14–16 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my Gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Much of the anger and criticism of Christians comes because society knows what they are doing is evil and wrong.

But be careful, “O hypocrite in the mirror,” Matthew 7:2 was written for you: “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Paul phrases it a bit differently in Romans 2:1–3:

Romans 2:1–3 Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

As always, I am preaching to myself first and foremost. Our sin looks to those around us like an iceberg as my friend MD pointed out. It doesn’t look very big on the surface, but underwater there is 90% more mass (sin).

I hope you have a Grace Group or small group like mine. They are caring enough to tell me what I need to hear and sensitive enough to know they are flawed just like I am. I genuinely hope you have folks in your life like that. It is for that reason that 222 exists. Who should you invite that really needs caring people in their life?

Stay happy, my Friends! Easter isn’t over because He lives! Have a great week honoring Jesus.

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Jonathan Wiley is the Community and Connections Pastor. A native Buckeye from northeast Ohio, Jonathan met his wife, Kim, at Grace, where she has been connected since childhood. Jonathan studied business (Grace College) and theology (Grace Seminary) before working in management for a leading multi-national corporation in northern Indiana. In addition to spending time with his family, Jonathan enjoys the outdoors, water sports, handyman projects, and commiserating with Cleveland Browns fans. Jonathan and Kim have three young children.