I think the title of the post about sums it up pretty well.
I’m a Christian. I’m also a sinner. Does that automatically make me a hypocrite? Of course not. That makes me human (or less than human as my Ethics professor would say, but that’s another topic). What makes me a hypocrite is that I point out the sin of others quite often, without pointing out my own. I hold others to a different standard. I swear…a lot. I have no problem dropping the f-bomb, especially when I’m driving…and it is more than likely directed at some other driver on the road. I absolutely hate being lied to, but can easily lie to protect myself.
One might ask, “What prompted this?” I’ve been reading the book unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity…and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. I just finished reading and reflecting on the chapter dealing with the perception that Christians are hypocrites. I have to say, reading it has caused me to reflect on my life as a witness to others.
What kind of witness am I showing the world by pointing out the sin of others? That they can’t follow the “rules” or that I am somehow morally superior to them because of my beliefs? That’s not the message of Christianity. The message is Christ crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sin. Jim White writes, “[Christians] fall prey to the charge of hypocrisy because we have reduced spirituality to a list of moral benchmarks coupled with a good dose of judgmentalism.” We’re good at telling people what the consequence of their sin is and hide behind however we believe that we are saved (for some, it is justification by grace through faith, while for others it is works). Nevermind the fact that we are all sinners.
But, it has absolutely nothing to do with following some set of rules that we can’t follow because we live in a fallen, broken world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an antinomian (fancy theological term for someone who disregards the Law). The Law is important and it’s there for a reason, but there is no way I will follow the Law every single second of every single day. And if I’m not following the Law and fail to point out my own sinfulness then I must look like a pretty big jerk, or hypocrite, when I point out the sinfulness of others. Something needs to change, and I’m pretty sure it is me.
I encourage all Christians to take a look at their own life and see those areas where they can be considered a hypocrite by society. Regardless of what one might think, it does matter what those outside of the church think about us. We are called to be a faithful witness to the world…a faithful witness of Christ.