Up at Night #10 – Intellectual Dishonesty

by MW Cook

Well, it actually doesn’t keep me up at night. I sleep well in spite of the staggering dishonesty I convince my brain to partake in. But the fact that this does not keep me up at night, keeps me up at night.

– I think that it’s pretty important to be born from above. This is because when someone came and privately asked Jesus for spiritual advice, that’s what he told him (John 3). And he made it sound serious, too. And when Jesus says something serious, I find it very logical to pay attention to it.
– Conversely, I do not seem to think it’s all that important to help the poor, even though Jesus and many prophets and apostles said we should (Proverbs 19:17, 1 John 3:17, James 1:27, and exactly one jillion more quotes). I may talk about it a lot, but I never seem to translate the talk into the kind of action Jesus suggested. Funny, eh?

Of course, I’m comparing apples to oranges, aren’t I? I mean, in John 3, Jesus was talking about salvation! Not morality. He was telling Nic how to enter into that wild and awesome Kingdom of Heaven that he was always talking about. It’s different, right?

I thought it was. I hoped it was. But I’m not so sure anymore.

Remember the rich young ruler who asked how to get to heaven (Luke 18:18-23)? Jesus says, be good. The guy replies, I am! Jesus says, go sell everything and give it to the poor. Then you’re in.


Thankfully I’m a clever person. I have a solution. I can postulate that Jesus had a deeper, not-so-obvious spiritual meaning when he told that young ruler-guy to sell his stuff. I can probably postulate a good enough meaning that I won’t actually have to do anything. Maybe I’ll just say that Jesus meant he ought to be willing to sell his crap. Yeah. It’s a heart issue, right? I can be willing to do that. So long as I don’t have to actually do it.

And what about when Jesus talks in Matthew 25:31-46? That one’s tougher. Jesus says that he’s going to gather everyone up and reject anyone who didn’t help the poor. What can I do about that one?


Oh! I got it! We are saved by faith, not works! Paul trumps Jesus! QED!

I hate it when my sarcasm is uncomfortably close to how I really live. I wonder in how many more places of my life I’m willfully blind and dishonest.