"Praise God!" Yeah, right

A while back my best friend added a guy who’s, to be nice, nowhere near my best friend on his Facebook account. Years back this guy was one of the most despicable people I knew, but my friend John remained friends with him for reasons of his own. He makes frequent posts to John’s page, especially if it’s something I’ve also made comments on. Based on a lot of what he posts, he clearly hasn’t changed. However, he has found God. :rolleyes:

Just about every post this guy makes includes phrases such as “Praise God!” “God is great!”, or some other mention of God or Jesus and how he owes everything good in his life to them. The handful of posts that aren’t like this are the ones that mention the parts of his life that remind me of just why I despised him as much as I did years back (the lying, the drug use, cheating on his wife, etc.).

I’ve known quite a few people like this, and after seeing another of his posts earlier, I got to thinking about this. The thing I’m wondering about this guy and others like him are if they truly think that God smiles down on them and their lifestyles, or if they view their constant praise as a shield against their behavior. In other words, “I can do what I want, lying to people, stealing, using drugs, wrecking peoples’ lives, but if I constantly sing God’s praises that makes everything okay.”

I see two things going on here.
One is you.You seem to be holdng this person in his sins. This idea is something I heard about listening to a theologian waxing on about St. John’s Gospel on the the woman caught in adultery. He explains that we can hold people in their sins. I realize I do this to my mother in law and I have to stop it.
The other thing I see is this fellow. He may be fooling himself, he may misundestand the mercy of God, he may be in that transition stage where he’s feeling something of God but still enjoys the things of this world (talking about himself and his past behavior). But you know what, whatever it is, it is. It can frustrate you or you can step back and just see it for what it is - someone on a different path or at a different stage of the path than you.
Just reading your post made me think of situations like this that I have dealt with. I have had to remind myself, I’m not better than anyone else.

This guy is something of a worse-case scenario and is mainly just the most egregious example of this behavior I come in contact with on a regular basis. I know a lot of people who do similar things, but it was his comments that sparked my frustration/pondering of this. Another example would be the manager at my cousin’s job who worked half his people all weekend making them put in extra hours to essentially cover his butt, fired each of them on Monday morning, then afterward came out and told the remaining ones how great God is for helping him through his struggles (it was actually his horrible misuse of people he knew he was letting go to cover up his own poor performance that helped him through). I just don’t like how it looks, as though this sort of person thinks anything they do is acceptable as long as they offer up a semi-religious anecdote and an insincere, “Yay, God!” after every misdeed.

As far as the former friend, his past sins aren’t a concern of mine, but I do feel a good deal of pity for his wife and children due to what he puts them through with his ongoing lifestyle. Without dwelling on him too much, I’ll just say that making a post about how wonderful God is for giving you your wife doesn’t erase or validate any infidelities you bragged about half a day earlier.

I hear you. I am in contact with my mother in law on quite a regular basis and it has been a real good lesson for me in forgiveness and humility and love - I’m still in class.
It is tough to see people invoke God’s name in such situations but you know the Almighty is not deaf to this. But you also know that He will deal with it in His way.
I’m trying to imagine if I worked with someone like that and they did that - what would I do?

Hey Gordon there are lots of men who try to pass themselves off as Christians…that is how they lure their victims. They come across as a “good guy” and more often then not they use the internet. I know because I have experienced it myself.

Yes, they do use that as a shield and believe me God is the last thing on their minds…they are usually on the prowl, looking for their next sexual conquest or their sick need to gain someone’s trust & affection just to abuse them emotionally…makes them feel like a man. Not all, but some and from what you wrote, your guy their fits that description. Although it is hard to judge either way from the internet…which makes it dangerous.

Just stay on guard for your friend…he/she may need you somewhere down the road. Depends on how much they let this guy in their life.

I think you need to be more concerned about why this guy makes you so angry. You made a similar post earlier about hypocritical family members. It’s almost like you hate these sinners, and that is not a good state of mind to be in.

Unfortunately most of us are sinners and hypocrites. There are very few saints.

Reminds me of how a lot of older people will preface an insult with “bless his soul”.

Something like: “Bless his soul, but I hate him”. As if saying bless his soul somehow makes it ok to say whatever you want about someone.

*Hi Gordon;

I hear you, but look at it this way…if he keeps ‘singing God’s praises’ eventually his life WILL transform. Thinking to change comes first, then actual change comes next, and takes more time of course. Just out of curiousity…he has a facebook page where he touts that he is lying and doing drugs? lol That’s just odd to me. I have made mistakes in my life, but I didn’t want to brag about them. :blush: Keep praying for him, hopefully, he will eventually take his faith from words only, to actions too! But, it takes time…we are all different, and maybe he is just not there with change, yet. Keep up hope for him! *

He had a set group of euphemisms back in college to describe which drugs, how much he’d used, etc. So it’s not like he gets on there and says, “I smoked a whole dime bag last night,” but instead uses one of his old nicknames for it and talks about how messed he is/was afterward.

Like I said, he’s not the main issue, but is the one that sparked me thinking about it. Unfortunately, I don’t think he or anyone else who does this is on any path to redemption. I know people who’ve done this the entire 30+ years I’ve known them and they’re no better people now than they were 30 years ago.

My main point is that I find it curious that people do this and was wondering what their reasons or motivations for it were. It’s similar to people I’ve known doing something not-so-ethical (or joking about doing something) then saying it’s okay because they can just go to confession the next day. Just as I don’t think saying “Praise God” all the time makes up for a life of sin, I don’t think an insincere confession makes up for anything. In other words, if a guy cheats on his wife on Friday, goes to confession on Saturday knowing full well that he’s going to cheat on her again Saturday night, I don’t think he’s truly penitent and hasn’t been absolved of anything.

For what it’s worth, I can’t tolerate hypocrisy. I realize nobody’s perfect, but hypocrisy & dishonesty seem to be pretty easy sins to avoid. It’s yet another matter of hating the sin and trying not to hate the sinner. Some are easier than others.

You can rest assured brother/sister that if someone knowingly commits sin, goes to confession without a firm purpose of amendment, there’s no absolution. That’s a doctrine of the faith. Same thing with the sin of presumption - I can go out and live a sinful life because I know God has to forgive me - you ain’t going to get forgiveness. Again, this is teaching of the Catholic church.
As for sins that appear easy to avoid - there are no such things. I find the sin of detraction easy to avoid, others find it almost impossible to avoid.
Pray for this fellow.
The person who posted about this guy and others luring people in with this behavior - I hadn’t thought of that. That’s a danger to be on the outlook for.

This is my concern too. Obviously the guy on facebook is not behaving as he should. But you are not in direct contact with him anymore, so the best recourse for that is to pray for him.

However, seeking out his posts on facebook and wondering and worring about him seems like a near occasion of sin for you. It may be best for you to ease off checking the facebook page and contact your friend directly instead. Then you won’t be as likely to start thinking badly of this other man and conversely thinking yourself to be better and less sinful than he.

St. Matthew recorded it best when he, under divine inspiration, wrote, 21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Like a previous poster said, though, perhaps by his seemingly irreverant usages of the Holy Names could somehow be converted by such usage. Jesus IS the most powerful of names and just that power could lead to his conversion. I know I must have looked like the biggest hypocrite around when I first started taking my faith seriously. It took quite awhile of “talking the talk” before I started being able to take the first few tenative steps in “walking the walk”. I still stumble daily.

Of course, pray for this man, especially when you get disgusted and angry at his behavior. You may be the only person he knows that is praying for him. I will be praying for him, too.

I know a lot people on here are calling you out on WHY you care so much, and I do think that is appropriate as we should all strive to examine our feelings. But I often feel this way also about people who seem to be using the Lord’s name in vain every time they evoke him to puff themselves up.
I think that a lot of people go to the Church to hide from God. Rather than soul search, they project out the “holy roller” image and never have to confront their own sins. Its sort of like, look at me guys, I talk about God a lot so I MUST be a good person! This stretches to all denominations, Catholic included - though I think it is more common in the health and wealth type churches where socializing seems to be the measure of a soul. I think even some priests “hide” from God behind their robes. Many preachers are adulterous or crooks and yet they never have to confront this because they have that Christian veneer painted on them.
My husband came from a denomination called church of Christ and he said this type of behavior you are referring to is common. Many of them lived bad lives, but were so determined to show everyone what “Christians” they were. They made sure in conversation to say they were having a “blessed day”, always talking about how “blessed” they were, as though that were some sort of statues – see God blesses me, I MUST be a good person!

I’m guessing he is a Protestant… they seem to do that more and he is probably doing it because that is what people do in the church he attends whether he or they mean it or not. It’s like speaking in tongues, VERY few Pentecostals have really done this if you ask off the record but everyone seems to have publicly in their Church - peer pressure.

I understand what you mean though. When I worked for a small business and dealt with a lot of other small businesses around the state I learned over the course of a few years that 99% of the time if the business had a ichthus (the little fish) on their business card - STAY AWAY! They were almost all crooked. Very sad indeed but it goes back to what Christ tells us in the NT right? About the Pharisees and Sadducees praying in public just to be seen. They want people to think they are religious because they believe somehow they will be treated differently (and often they are right) and can use that to their advantage.

No not all are like this but in my life expereinces, if someone wants to tell me how great of a Christiain they are and how much they love God… I’m stepping back.

If someone truly loves God and is a good Christian, Catholic or Protestant, you will SEE it in their lives. There is no need to brag about it.


This is exactly what came to my mind after I read the OP. Thank you for posting it.

I thought I’d made it clear before that I’m not seeking this guy out. He makes occasional comments on another friend’s page and notes so I see them there. I scarcely notice the bulk of what he posts, but when my friend sends me a note and copies him on it, I get his replies. The main thoughts I have about him anymore are ones of pity for his family who, either directly or indirectly, are suffering due to his actions. (He was raised Catholic, btw.)

As I said before, my main question is not him in particular but why so many feel the need to do this. He was simply the catalyst that sparked the question. As Joe stated, if someone is sincere in these thoughts they don’t throw it in your face or call undue attention to it. I’m just curious why people like this do this.

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