Identifying oneself with Jesus, but choosing to live blind to who He actually is.
Before I get too far into this, one of the things we have to recognize is that when broken people attempt to imitate the son of God in word and actions, there is bound to be a whole lot of hypocrisy. We are not perfect, and we never will be. The church will always hurt people. Christians will always fail to live up to the standard of God’s holiness. Pastors will fall, leaders will break and churches will split. When God chose to use people to accomplish His work on earth, it was a choice for that process to be incredibly messy.
The bottom line is, our behavior, as, “Christians,” will always leave something to be desired in the eyes of this skeptical world looking on. As one of those, “Broken Christians,” let me be the first to say I am sorry. I am sorry that my life so rarely matches my words. I am sorry for what that does to the name and reputation of Jesus. I am sorry for being such a bad representation of the most amazing man that ever lived on this planet. Frankly, I am not sure why God chose me to begin with.
I am sorry for the hypocrisy.
At the same time, there is a whole lot of hope to be found in just saying it out loud. I am a hypocrite. My dad taught me that…
“The church is the perfect place for hypocrites to gather.”
Its true… if we are aware of our shortcomings we can allow God to shape us, mold us and form in us the value of graciousness. Our failures then, become a source of hope to the world instead of pain. It’s about seeing it, identifying it, and being humble enough to admit that we don’t have it all together.
But there is another kind of hypocrisy. It is the kind that takes root in a person, blinding them to the realities of their own mess, and magnifying the mess of others. It’s the kind that causes a person to use the beautiful gift of the gospel for personal gain, for an individual agenda. It’s the kind that seeks to divide, the kind that tears down instead of building up. It’s the kind that sees personal agenda and belief system as more important than loving people. This kind of hypocrisy tears down, creates disunity, and leaves the world going,
Blind hypocrisy is the single most devastating issue for the church today.
Christians get so fired up and passionate about doctrinal issues, worship style and carpet color that they are willing to cause division to have their voice heard. In doing so we find ourselves in pursuit of our own agenda in the name of Jesus while blindly ignoring His greatest commands on our lives.
I am amazed at just how easily we allow ourselves to become blinded by selfishness.
As Jesus followers, we are called to prioritize one thing above all else in this world. Loving, valuing, and freely giving of ourselves to people.
- In friendship… Love
- With our enemies… love
- In the face of violation… love
- When its easy, when its hard, when its painful… love
- When someone disagrees with my view of God… love
As Christians we have learned to, “Go to the mattresses” to defend our doctrinal perspectives, yet don’t care about who we hurt in the process. In our passion and zeal for our “faith,” we find ourselves ignoring the greatest commandment of all. To love people. We become the worst kind of hypocrite.
How did we get here?
Friends, God will protect His own church, God will take care of the truth… we are called to love. Period.
Love is the most powerful force in this universe.
If you call yourself a Christian, my challenge for you, as you enter your church building on Sunday is to pursue unity, understanding and love. To give yourself fully to your church leaders, your churches mission and your values. Look for ways to create unity, not be divisive. Search for ways to build up, not tear down. Give the benefit of the doubt, trust first.
Jesus reminded us that there is really only one way that the world will know we are His disciples… by the way we love each other.
Let love and unity be the lens you see the rest of life and faith from behind, and then and only then will we be ready to take our broken, messed up hypocritical lives into the world and put Jesus and His grace on display in a powerful way.