Christians can be self-righteous and judgmental, pointing out the specks in others’ eyes while ignoring the beams in their own. They preach love while often treating others with contempt. Many sing praises to God, shouting “Amen!” on Sunday mornings, but live totally self-centered lives beyond the church walls, caring little about those in need around them.
All this is true about some – but certainly not all – churchgoers. Having said that, I now have a simple question:
Seriously. What do you expect? The Bible – and basic observational skills – teaches that every human is born corrupted in some way and is therefore a hypocrite by nature. Including you. There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people. That’s why we need Jesus – the only human who ever wasn’t a hypocrite – to save us.
Of course the church is full of hypocrites. But that’s okay. God is bigger than our mistakes and he loves to use broken vessels to accomplish his plans. King David – known as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) – was an adulterer and a murderer. Hypocrite. The Apostle Paul – who penned much of the New Testament – tortured and murdered Christians. Hypocrite. Moses – whom God used to miraculously lead his people out of Egyptian slavery – was also a murderer. Hypocrite.
We’re all hypocrites.
Some of us, though, have surrendered our lives to God’s power and are allowing him to gradually change our hearts so that we become less hypocritical and more like Jesus every day. We’ll never be perfect, but because of God’s grace we don’t have to be.
I also have to point out that not everyone who attends church has surrendered themselves to God. They claim to be Christians – and may even believe they are – but they in no way submit themselves to God’s transforming power. Jesus actually warned in Matthew 13:24-30 that there would be imposters among his people. His advice? Ignore them. God will sort it out in the end. Your responsibility is to follow God without letting the fakers distract you.
Because, let’s be real. If the only objection keeping you from going to church is that others there don’t always live what they claim to believe, that’s pretty lame. The church isn’t about the imperfect people who inhabit it; it is about the one perfect person who is the head of it – and your relationship with him. That’s it. And while Jesus’ followers may fail you from time to time, he never will.
The better—and godly—thing to do would be to allow yourself to be transformed by God’s power, and then show others the how to do the same not through your words but through your actions. God wants you to lead by example, not flee by excuse.
Ultimately, it’s in cultivating an individual relationship with God that that brings about the change that allows us to see past the hypocrisy and into the wounded hearts of those around us. It was through that one-on-one relationship God transformed Moses into a leader in the wilderness, David into a king in the caves, and Paul into a servant in the desert. The same can be true for you.