So it would appear that I am a million years behind this story, but have you heard about the Hobby Lobby situation that's unfolded in recent days? Here's a news link that ought to do a pretty decent job catching you up. The long and short of it is apparently Hobby Lobby purchased a bunch of black market artifacts from the Middle East, and were shady about it at best. They were forced to return the artifacts and pay a bit of a fine.
First of all, I have no earthly idea why Hobby Lobby was buying artifacts. I don't think that I've ever seen the Ark of the Covenant laid out beside the glue sticks. Obviously there's something to do with the Museum of the Bible, which the President of Hobby Lobby also has a stake in, though there appears to be no legal connection in any of the court documents that came out.
But here's the rub. If it were any other big corporation that was behaving badly and got busted doing so, I'd probably not even notice it. Sad as it is, that happens pretty much daily in the United States. What makes this case special is how much Hobby Lobby was standing on their faith as their moral compass when discussing healthcare. They wanted to be labeled as a Christian corporation, and they have been.
Which is now very bad news for the rest of us.
I haven't really wanted to comment on this story, because again Christians being silly is a daily occurrence. My own hypocrisy could fill volumes, I'm sure. But I keep noticing this story because I keep noticing the reactions of my non-Christian friends to this story, and shall we say it's not pretty. They are (rightly, in my opinion) calling out the hypocrisy of raising a colossal fuss about contraception, while at the same time engaging in (perhaps) stealing and (most definitely) lying. They are making fun of a group of people touting their devotion to morality getting basically caught with their hand in the cookie jar. But the problem is they're not saying these things about Hobby Lobby. They're saying these things about Christians.
This is what happens when you put your faith, your hope, and your trust in your sense of morality, and then promptly A) brag about it and/or B) make people feel bad about their lack of morality. Your sense of morality has blind spots, even if it is heavily influenced by your faith. Yes of course, we want to be moral people. Yes of course, we do everything we can to limit the blind spots. Yes of course, we want to be seeking after righteousness and justice. But that's not where we put our hope. It can't be. It will fail us each and every time.
We have to...have to...HAVE TO put our faith, our hope, and our trust in Jesus Christ. We need to approach questions of morality with a deep and abiding sense of humility. Yes, there is right and wrong in the world. If you are reading this and think I'm saying anything goes, you're not hearing me. But what we have to be careful about is how much wrong we might be doing while we're proclaiming our rightness. It's why every night I have to pray and ask Christ to show me where I went wrong, where I might have blown it through the day, and I have to ask for forgiveness. A faith that is built on Christ's forgiveness and grace and the humility it produces is refreshing. A faith that is built on a faulty morality that leaves certain pieces behind is, well, really annoying.
The problem of course now is that we are all tainted with this. Claiming to be a Christian comes with this extra baggage. My response to my friends is that I'm sure I am just as guilty as Hobby Lobby. I'm sure I'm just as two-faced. I'm sure I'm as selfish as anyone out there. I'm sure of these things because I'm human, and I'm broken. But my hope is that Jesus Christ can put me back together. My hope is that Jesus shines brighter than my failures, brighter than my selfishness, brighter than my own sense of self-righteousness. And my deep and abiding hope is that while the news is consumed with the hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby, that Jesus could shine even brighter than them.
Come, Lord Jesus. We need you badly.