“I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites.” –Psalm 26:4
“Yes, you do.” –Mitch Todd
Is it true? Are Christians hypocrites?
To find out, I followed someone home from church this week, just to see how hypocritical they actually were.
Here’s a summary of my findings:
- On Sunday they were a model citizen, until they started shouting obscenities at the game on TV.
- On Monday, they told their spouse about something from work, and made it sound like they were the hero, when they really weren’t.
- On Tuesday, they turned the channel away from one of those “starving children” commercials, so they wouldn’t be convinced to give.
- On Wednesday, they went well over the speed limit.
- On Thursday, they didn’t tip a waitress, because she brought them the wrong drink.
- On Friday, they visibly tensed up when someone who didn’t look like them brushed past them at the store.
- On Saturday, they made a little too merry, and said a few things they probably shouldn’t have.
Nothing earth-shattering there, but everyone of those actions represents some type of hypocrisy. As Christians, we’re not supposed to exaggerate, or turn a blind eye, or break the law, or treat others rudely, or act out of fear, or over-indulge, or speak carelessly. Right?
That (imaginary) church member should know better!
Every day we have an opportunity to represent Jesus Christ in this world, and every Sunday we declare our desire to do just that. And every week, in small ways and great big ways, we fall short. We all do this.
Most of our shortcomings are the kinds of minor things anyone might do, but when Christians, who proclaim to live according to a higher authority do them, it’s a glaring misstep. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.
Here’s the deal: Despite what many might think about our religion, we haven’t arrived at some perfect destination. Rather, we’re on the journey of a lifetime. A journey to become more and more like Christ.
Methodists call this sanctification. To be made holy. The journey has twists and turns, road-blocks, U-turns and slowdowns, but God willing, we grow in our faith.
We’re hypocrites in “untraining.”
It’s like a sign I made years ago. It said,
“Yes, I’m a Christian.
Yes, I’m a hypocrite.
Yes, I’m working on it.”
When others look at me, I want them to see a reflection of Christ. But when I fail at that, I want them to see someone humble enough to admit it and try again. Worship at its best instills in us that kind of humility.
On Sunday morning, when you come to church, don’t pretend to be something that you’re not.
Admit it–you’re a hypocrite!
But take a look around…
you’re in good company.
Have a great week,
NOTE: As we continue prayers for Texas and the Houston area, I invite you to donate to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. This organization is among the first on the ground and the last to leave when disaster strikes. Donate through them by visiting UMCOR.