How Hypocrisy has Tainted the Church
If you grew up in a Christian home, you’re probably familiar with the following series of events:
- Most of your circles are Christian (friends, camps, church, etc.)
- You are at one point taught Christian values in a group setting (for me it was definitely camp, for you it might also be a Christian school or sunday school)
- As soon as the teaching is over you observe your friends and the other kids or teenagers, continue right along with questionable behavior or conversation. At some point, you decide to join in yourself or perhaps you are the instigator.
This can be confusing when we grow up in Christian environments but we are lacking in solid examples or friendships. This is when the “hypocrite” label comes in. Lots of people view Christians as hypocrites because of this very situation, and it is a cause for many people to leave the church or not take the faith they claim very seriously.
I literally walked out of a talk on gossip one time, to a group huddle among my friends to gossip about someone! Almost as if they heard the speaker talking about gossip which reminded them, “Oh yeah I have some gossip to do.” In many of these situations through ages 15-17 I regret to say I either joined in or sat in uncomfortable silence, unwilling to be the party pooper who would change the subject.
This is such a prevalent issue in the Church because our very belief system is based on laws and morals that are so high we can’t possibly achieve them! Those of us who heard the true gospel, understand that the laws and rules are there to be a mirror, showing us what it takes to be perfect in order to be with our God. The impossibility of that task is the very reason God decided to send his son Jesus to die and take our place, wiping clean our record so that despite our inability to be perfect, we can be with him.
People who walk away from the faith because of hypocrisy oftentimes aren’t shown this gospel, and instead are shown a bunch of people who claim “their way is the only way” and it requires you to never mess up, yet here we are, messing up.
And people who aren’t believers or the Church leaves a bad taste in their mouth were often shown the same sort of legalistic hypocrisy, never understanding God’s love and grace that led himself to make the greatest sacrifice on our behalf.
My Mom grew up in a healthy Christian home, going to church three times a week, Christian high school and Christian college. She talks about her observations of that culture, the positive things she took away and what she had to kind of un-learn in our podcast together! Listen here.
Here’s a healthy question to ask yourself every day: “In what ways am I misrepresenting the gospel through hypocrisy?”
Jesus HATED hypocrisy. It was his biggest problem with the pharisees and he’s confronting them all throughout the Gospels. He doesn’t like it when people make up their own rules, look down on those who don’t live by them, while not abiding by them themselves.
He hates it when people misrepresent his word and his law.
He hates it when people do “good deeds” loudly with the goal being the attention they will get for it, rather than the good deed itself.
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.[...]But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
Matthew 23: 2-7, 13-15
(The whole chapter of Matthew 23 is great for this)
Bottom line: don’t be a hypocrite, and make sure you listen to podcast episode 5 HERE!