Make sure you appear good on the outside. Even though God looks at the heart!

I don’t even like the word “sin” because it gives me a twinge of PTSD. But, let’s just use that word because it’s one that we are all familiar with. In the sect that I was born into, and was in for 33 years, certain “sins” had more weight than others. This was, and is, confusing to me. For example, you can have oodles of pride in your heart (the first sin in the garden of Eden) – even too much pride to humble yourself enough to pray, and as long as you wear the right outfit, go to all of the meetings, and say the right words you are considered “spiritual” and “pious” and “right”.

But if you have a genuine heart for God, and humbly seek His heart and face daily, and are seeking a genuine relationship and intimacy with Him, but you have a one-night ‘mistake’ sexual encounter outside of marriage, you are tarnished forever and your reputation is ruined, and you’ll be disfellowshipped and shunned if you don’t publicly repent (after the juicy details being discussed with elders, or even publicly sometimes). This didn’t happen to me – but I saw it happen to many others. Apparently a sexual transgression by a 19 year old boy is far more evil and grave of a sin than a religious bigot with so much pride in his heart that he would probably never help his neighbor or even smile at “worldlies”.

What craziness! It truly is a fog that they are living in. Where is the critical thinking? Their hearts seem to be closed to God’s Spirit and leading. Sounds like the Pharisees to me. The funny thing is that they talk all the time about how bad the Pharisees were – and sadly they are blind to the fact that they are just like them!