Are Christians Hypocrites?
Are Christian's hypocrites?
If you answer no, rest assured you'll be called one anyway, but our thought today is not to bash those who don't understand, and it's certainly not to pat ourselves on the back for being "so good", rather to get us to pause a minute and take a look at ourselves. Is it possible we look like hypocrites to the world?
Here's my opinion, and I know some will disagree with it. I've made sinful mistakes in the past, and I'll make some today and I'll make many more in the future. This fact is indisputable in my life, I sin at times. But it does not make me a hypocrite.
You can find a myriad of definitions, but here are the two most often listed. 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs.
As Christians we do act in contradiction to our belief at times, because we are human, and we will sin. But, is it an occasional mis-step, or is it our true colors showing. We don't profess to be perfect, in fact, if we don't fully admit beforehand that we will sin from time to time, then we aren't being honest with ourselves or anybody else. There is a clear difference between preaching the life God expects us to live, admitting we will miss the mark on occasion, and perpetrating a fraudulent character in hopes we are fooling those around us.
In Matthew 7:5, Jesus in an effort to help us not be hypocritical says, "...first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." We must assess our own lives and look for our imperfections. Later in the book, Jesus says, "... Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are..." (Matt 23:14-15). I believe, among other things, that Christ's caution here is that if we ourselves are frauds, that when we make converts, we make them into replicas of ourselves. We can easily see how that would potentially happen.
Jesus would love for us to live by the letter of His Gospel, yet He tells us we won't be able to (Rom 3:23), and if we claim to, then we are liars (1 John 1:10).
People are not blind, and it doesn't take much for them to make a determination as to whether or not we are genuine, if they know us. If they don't, and they only see us when we drop the ball, they can easily arrive at a wrong conclusion about our true motivation. When we try and teach others that there is a way to live and be acceptable to Christ, let us first of all, admit to them that everyone, ourselves included, will fall short at times. Then, let us help them understand that they too, if they follow Christ, will not measure up without the blood of Jesus to justify them, as all humans will struggle and commit sin, even if doing their best not to. Let's teach them the inevitable reality that nobody can live perfectly, and we will be mis-judged by some on occasion.
Our job is to "...walk in the light, as he is in the light" and when we have given that our best effort, "...we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) It is our responsibility to admit to ourselves, to God, and to others that we too come up short, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9)
In this way, and only in this way, are we sinless before God. Our sin will always be visible to the world, we will never be perfect, and some will always label us as hypocrites because of their lack of understanding. But our forgiven and cleansed perfection in the eyes of God is what really matters. Let us try and help the world understand that.