The Hypocrisy Hype
I saw an interesting (and funny) saying on Pinterest. It said, “Not going to church because of the hypocrites is like not going to the gym because of out of shape people.”
We expect to see and interact with out of shape people in the gym. We are all there trying to better ourselves and our physical bodies. We offer high fives and words of encouragement and don’t get mad when someone backslides or falls off their program for a while. We just keep cheering them on. But at church, we don’t always see that kind of understanding. We expect that if someone says they are a Christ follower, they should “know better.”
Sometimes, depending on the circumstance, we may even get so upset, we leave to find another church or maybe plan to stop going altogether. Wait… what?!?! No judgment. Like I said…I’ve totally been there. I’ve admitted to you before that I used to have no patience for bad behavior and at one point, I even let that stumble me right out of the church. Let me assure you, I was the one who lost out when I left! I am just blessed that the Lord continued to pursue me and lovingly brought me back.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that the church is filled with imperfect sinners. We hold each other to a higher standard, but we must be quick to remember that we are not perfect just yet. Have you ever stopped to think, maybe that person is not a hypocrite? Maybe they are just a flawed human with issues just like you and I? (And if they are a hypocrite, they are God’s to deal with, not yours!)
When we find ourselves bent out of shape over the behavior of someone else, we really should be asking ourselves this: Why do I attend church? Who do I go to worship? This is the perfect time to check in on the health of our relationship with God. When we are so consumed with others, this may be a good time to check our hearts for a possible idolatry problem. As previously discussed, idolatry is anything we put in front of serving God. When we care more about what people think than what God thinks, then I’m sorry to say, there is a problem with idolatry.
See how quick the tables have turned? The problem is no longer about what others are doing in the church that we are so quick to judge. The spotlight is now on us, the problem is now ours. This is a valuable lesson in life. When we see glaring issues with others, often we will discover our own deep rooted sin that needs to be addressed. Just as Matthew 7:5 reminds us, we need to remove the plank from our own eye before you remove the speck from someone else’s eye.
Go easy, friend. We are all just a messy work in progress. But if we dare to see what God sees, we will learn to appreciate and love the abstract, unique, beautiful pieces of art we really are. When we see that, we are less likely to run away from each other and more likely to stay, forgive and see each other through our beautiful mess. You will find that God will bless you with an amazing testimony when you stay.
Remember: The road to eternal life is “narrow.” (Matthew 7:14) Don’t jump to the spacious road that leads nowhere fast. Let’s hang on tight to each other and help one another to the beautiful prize ahead!