How you treat other people, directly or indirectly, actively or passively, reveals your soul. “What enters a person’s mouth does not cause dirtiness, but what exits the mouth, this causes dirtiness” (Matthew 15:11, my translation).

Two priests demand a heretic to repent as he i...

Two priests demand a heretic to repent as he is tortured. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious person relates to others based on power. For example, they feel justified in deciding what the will of God is for others and through force, bullying or manipulation they impose their views on others. They spout words of “power over”. It might be formally through things like the Inquisition. It might be informally through backroom politics. They get their way spouting dirt at secret or closed meetings, talking about people when they are not present, character assassination through gossip and innuendo, or the abuse of religious regulations. Since they are the court of appeal they sit unaccountable.

Spiritual people, however, talk to people, work with and for people, rejoice in the gifts and calling of others whether or not they understand it. They don’t make decisions for others without prayer and consultation and a balanced and fair process that Jesus would be honoured to be part of. They follow Matthew 18:15-17 even when it means extra work and time and effort because justice is a higher standard than winning or closing a file. They speak words in Godly love. They act in the light, in the open and stand accountable.

All this leads up to these questions for self-examination:

  • Have you ever thought, or said, that someone couldn’t be a Christian because they don’t act the way you expect?
  • Have you ever voted on a matter that affected someone’s career or fellowship or membership based on what you were told rather than your conversation and prayers with that person?
  • Have you ever quoted a religious rule in a way that allowed you to act without fasting and prayer and respectful dialogue?
  • Have you ever refused to get informed about an action that was questionable so that you could claim ignorance to avoid challenging the sin?

Well, your religion may let you get away with behaviour that falls short of the standards of Almighty God, but the Judge of All will hold everyone accountable. “Don’t deceive yourself, for God will not be fooled or made to look silly; whatever seeds you sow, whether just or evil, will be the harvest and payback you collect” (Galatians 6:7, my paraphrase).