Saturday, August 1, 2020

Just a Bunch of Hypocrites

By Jeff Arnette

    How many times have you heard someone say that? How many times have you thought it yourself? I am going to share a huge secret with you, "Christians are not perfect"! I know that is not a shock to some of you but for others it is the most controversial thing you could say. How dare you contend that Christians are not perfect? I can say that because I am a Christian, because I know a lot of other Christians, and because the Bible says so (Rom. 3:23).
    You see Christians still sin and when they do, they hurt themselves, they hurt others, and just as importantly they hurt God. The church is definitely the place to go if you want to find people struggling with sins.
    The Christian having sin in their life does not make them a hypocrite. The word "hypocrite" comes from a Greek word meaning "a play actor" or "someone who is pretending to be something they are not." I am sure there are some Christians who want you to think they are sinless and I am sure there are some who strive to convince you of their holiness and purity. Truthfully, there is a reason why Jesus called some people "whitewashed tombs" full of all kinds of filth (Matthew 23:27-28). They were more concerned about what people thought of them than what God thought of them and that has not changed much. Yet, having sin in your life does not make you a hypocrite, it makes you human and in need of a Savior.
    I think there are primarily two reasons why unbelievers usually hurl that accusation at Christians. First, although they don't know much about God, Jesus, or the church; they know enough to expect that Christians will be different from them. They expect us to be somewhat Christ-like, somewhat loving, and somewhat understanding of others failures. What they usually get is anything but loving, caring, or understanding. Most scary is what they get is anything but Christ-like. Secondly, they have been in contact with some Christian/Christians in the past and they made them feel inferior. Like they were somehow less human because they were sinners when the Christian who made them feel like that was no better than them. They walked away from their encounter feeling worse about themselves and about the church.
    Church, you cannot control how someone feels about Christians or the church but you can work hard to ensure that they don't feel that way about you. Jesus was a man who made people feel comfortable. People felt like they could talk to Him and He was a person they thought they could spend time with. He was a person that others could enjoy a meal with (Luke 5:29-30; 7:34, 36). So they invited Him and He went. He surrounded Himself with sinners and those in need and they felt well about it. He didn't cause people to run in the other direction when they saw Him walking toward them.
   Church, let's make sure that when unbelievers encounter us it is a beneficial and meaningful encounter. Let's make sure they see Christ living in us instead of our sins shining brightly. We cannot be perfect but we can make sure that they walk away with a good view of the church and Christianity.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website.

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