by | Feb 25, 2024 | 2024, Musings | 0 comments

Yahweh gave the Israelites Ten Commandments. But in order to “keep” them, rabbis down through the ages have “condensed” those ten commandments into a mere 613 rules to live by. Modern living has further complicated things, so now those 613 rules are interpreted by orthodox and secular rabbis and their opinions vary widely. Some of those interpretations strike me as pretty funny.

For example, to avoid any kind of work on the Sabbath, some Jewish families purchase special timers so that their refrigerators and other appliances can be turned off and on automatically without violating Sabbath rules. Tying knots is a form of work and must be avoided on the Sabbath. But making a bow is ok. There’s no swatting of flies or mosquitos, no carrying of a wallet or purse and no turning on incandescent lights on the Sabbath.

Maybe the one that makes me giggle the most is the rule about toilet paper. You are not allowed to tear it off the roll. The sheets must be pre-torn before Friday at sundown.

Perhaps the thought of these kinds of behavioral standards causes you to grin a bit too. But truth be known, we Christians have religious hypocrites roaming our halls. We are not wearing phylacteries, or long tassels on our sweaters, but in many cases, we spend an enormous amount of time trying to project deep spirituality when in fact, we are shallow followers of Christ.

The cure for such behavior is authenticity. Simply stated, we need to live like we talk. “The reality of our identity should match the truth of who God says we are spiritually.” Biblical principles are meant to adjust our behavior, not just sprinkle our conversation with “holiness.”

Authenticity is a way of life for the believer in Jesus. It is a sincere attempt to let our choices and conduct match the spiritual things we say we hold dear. When people investigate the life of a Christian, they should see our dependence on the Lord. They should be able to comment on the sincere love we have for each other.  They should be able to hear our thankful hearts and watch as we practice (over and over again) living a life devoted to Christ.

And when we fail, when there’s a gap between what we say and what we do, we need to stop and repent. We need to change course. We need to ask for forgiveness and seek higher ground. 

Living a life authentically before God and others is tough. But hypocrisy is not an option.