April 11, 2009
“I Hate Hypocrites!” At least that is what I hear so often, especially when I am talking to a person who doesn’t care for the Church. A hypocrite is loosely defined as a person who does not practice what he or she preaches. Let me ask you a very serious question: who practices what they preach? How many among us claim one thing and do another? How many among us live up to our own standards? How many among us do exactly what we expect ourselves to do in each and every situation?
I need to confess to you that I am a hypocrite. I don’t always live by the standards I believe and have the opportunity to teach and preach. The point is I believe that we are all hypocrites. There is not one of us who always does the right thing even when we strongly believe in the right thing. Somewhere between utter failure and perfection we live out our lives trying to do the best we can do. I admit, there are those far and few between who make a point of pointing out my worst moments; but by far those are not the people who fill the pews most Sunday mornings.
I have now been a Christian for over 20 years and I simply have not met this wicked host of mean hypocrites that many people are so eager to detest. Nearly all the people I have met along the way have been decent hard working hypocrites who are simply doing the best they can do. Some are more broken than others; some of more outspoken than others; and yes, some behave more righteously than others. The fact is they have all been hypocrites at one time or another and I am ok with that because I am one of them.
I promise you that there is not a vast Christian conspiracy whose primary goal is to note and point out your weaknesses and failures and inability to be perfect. We are all too busy dealing with our own junk to sit around and worry endlessly about your junk. We only worry about your junk when you ask us to and we often mess that up because we are too busy taking care of ourselves. Our kids misbehave; our brother’s are crooks; our friends drink too much alcohol; our spouses are on antidepressants; our families are enslaved to debt; the best among us get divorces and quite regularly you might hear a curse word cross our lips.
We simply don’t have it all together and we don’t sit around in prayer meetings and small groups talking about how your life is messed up. Instead, we get up every morning and try to live under grace. We seek forgiveness sometimes moments at a time. Somewhere between our ideal and perfection we find reality that is covered in grace offered us by a Lord and Savior who abandoned His own goodness so that we could have a shot at eternal life. We are certainly not saved because we deserve it and we can never do enough good stuff to earn it. We are saved by grace and we like to get together as often as we can in large gatherings and small groups and celebrate God’s goodness. Certainly there are jerks among us and I hope you can see past that small number of people to understand that there is a larger group of people willing to go through the muck of life with you if you give us a shot.