NOVEMBER 9, 2023
What's the most common thing people say about those of us who are Christians and love Jesus? Any guesses? Once I tell you what I think it is, you’ll almost certainly agree that this one has to be at the top of the list.
Ok ready? Here it is: “The church is filled with hypocrites”. Any time that the church does something wrong, or does something that people don’t agree with, or just takes a moral stand, you’ll hear this phrase.
It makes sense for people who don’t believe in Jesus to say that. First off, it’s easy to just criticize without trying to understand. Second, it’s a way for them to justify to themselves that they don’t need or want to go to church. Third, it is a way to deflect from the fact that they are hypocrites themselves. That’s because we all are, at least at some level. Yes, some people in the church are huge hypocrites who give those of us who are garden-variety hypocrites a bad name.
So with that all said, let me share a few ways to respond to this charge about the church aand Christians:
1. Let’s have short and small accounts with hypocrisy. We all sin and fall short of the standard, but let’s aim to do so in small ways and to course-correct it as soon as we can.
2. Let’s remember who is saying this about us. People will say this because they want to feel better about themselves without turning their lives over to Jesus. And we should never expect someone to act upright until they have a relationship with Jesus by faith. Often the issue is not really the issue when people say this (though sometimes it is very accurate).
3. Let’s help people realize that we are all in need of help when it comes to hypocrisy. Let’s remind people that we are all hypocrites and the only remedy is Jesus Christ. He can change us, help us grow and mature, and keep our hypocrisy accounts short and small. Receiving the Good News of Jesus is the only hope.
To be clear, hypocrisy in the church is real and damages our witness for Jesus, but it’s also an opportunity for us to help others see their own hypocrisy and point them to the only One who can do something about it.