“I’d rather hang out with hookers, criminals and other “sinners” than with those who put on the mask of religion”. – Joshua Guild
I can relate to Joshua Guild’s quote as I think that at least the hookers, criminals, “sinners” usually don’t condemn others in the name of god, whereas for those who put on the mask of religion, such as the pharisees, Jesus called them whitewashed tombs, which are nice to look at on the outside but are full of dead bones (envy, jealousy, hypocrisy, etc) inside. Jesus himself ate and drank with the “sinners”, and the religious folks called him a glutton and winebibber. Not much has changed today as we still see modern day pharisees carrying bibles and calling themselves christians and judging or condemning others for being different from or less “holy” than them, thinking they must be set apart by their behaviour. I think that is a mistaken mindset because behaviour does not define a person. We are defined by our true identity – innocence, love and perfection, without spot, wrinkle or any such thing. We no longer see one another in the natural but as new creations.
So, even as we see everyone through the eyes of grace, for the sake of our peace of mind and wellbeing, we would prefer to hang out with those who know they have flaws and weaknesses, like all of us human beings, and who are not judgmental, compared to those who put on the mask of religion and use bible verses to condemn others rather than to edify others. As I have learnt, those who condemn the loudest tend to be guilty of the very thing they condemn about – it is a reflection of their own self-loathing. Perhaps the best way to deal with them or help them is not to give them the attention they crave, and love them from afar. This will also allow them to be more attentive to the still, small voice of the Spirit whispering to them and restoring to them their own self-love in the silence of their solitude.