This morning I spent some time reflecting on the awesome task we are faced with as believers to be lights in the dark places. As I watched a recent awards show last month, I was struck by why people would be turned away from Christ if they saw hypocritical or at least perceived hypocritical Christians.
The sad hypocrisy of the movie and music industry in Hollywood is that they are calling for sexual abuse to end and for equal rights for women at the same time they are producing music and movies that promote treating women as objects for pleasure and actually degrading women. It’s a sad thing to be sure.
The tragedy of hypocrisy is that it is rooted in pride and pride keeps us from seeing areas of our lives where we fall short. I have heard it said, “We hate certain things as much as we do because we do them ourselves.” I think there is some truth in this. This is certainly true when it comes to the hypocritical argument. You’ve probably heard it before, “Those Christians are all hypocrites!” or “I would never go to church because they are all hypocrites!”
As follower of Christ we like to look at the world and say they are this way or that way. We don’t like to ask the question “Am I that way?”
Believer we need to be humble enough to ask God (and maybe a trusted friend), “Is there hypocrisy in my life?” or, “Do my actions and words mirror the world or Christ in any given area at any given time?” When we find hypocrisy or see ourselves mirroring the world, we need to repent, seek to grow in those areas of our lives, and ask God to uproot the sin that still exists in us.
As followers of Christ need to be able say, as Paul does to Timothy, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and good conscience and sincere faith” Timothy 1:6. In other words, Paul lived and spoke about faith and love that was not hypocritical. His motives were pure. We can live this way by constantly searching our own hearts and repenting.
The reality is that there is hypocrisy in the world and there is hypocrisy in the Church. But maybe we can learn to show each other some grace. Maybe I don’t need to boycott movies and music effectively cutting off any chance to build relationships with unbelievers and maybe unbelievers could stop boycotting the Church just because we aren’t perfect. The glorious truth is that grace is greater than our hypocrisy! This is not giving us a license to sin, but motivation to conform our lives to Christ!