Ouch. Just the title hurts, doesn't it?
The definition of hypocrite according to Encarta's Online Dictionary is:
"somebody who pretends to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behaves otherwise"
We're all hypocrites at one point or another. Did you read that? Did I step on your toes? We're all imperfect. We're all sinners.
So you may be wondering why I am writing about this topic. Well, there's been this little thorn in my flesh for a while. Someone who has a leadership role who portrays themself as a model Christian - slandered against us, lied about us, was jealous of us, and just plain ol' hurt our family. I really had to work on forgiving and forgetting. And I mean WORK. It took a long time. But every time something happens that brings up this person or the unfortunate situation - I have to forgive all over again. And it's not always easy.
Another incident took place recently that riled me up. Bringing up all the wounds, all the hurt, all the ANGER. And what did I call this person?
Hypocrite. As the words left my mouth, I felt a little conviction. But I was still too mad to listen. And I continued to think of this person as a hypocrite. And just to be honest and show you my own imperfection, I had other names as well - coward, chicken, mamby-pamby, evil. Yes, I called this person evil.
I didn't sleep well that night. (And I wondered why? LOL) The next morning, during my Bible Study, I had another one of my 2x4 moments. (Yes, that's when I feel like God has to get my attention - and it literally feels like I've been struck - I'm hard-headed, yes, I know.)
I was convicted because we're all sinners. Sin is sin to God. And as much as it hurt, I had to admit I've often been a hypocrite myself. Every time I sin, every time my behavior doesn't back up my beliefs. Ouch.
My husband and I have stated since this fiasco started that if the world equated Christianity with this one person's example - we really didn't want to be associated with Christians. I know that comes across harsh, doesn't it? But let me explain. We want to be associated with Christ. Christians are often all lumped into one big group - and if the only example the world is seeing is an "ugly" example, then we, as Christians have failed. And there are lots of ugly examples. The enemy loves to tear apart Christian ministries, marriages, homes - all in an attempt to win a battle. The question is this, are we willing to fight in the battle? Or are we unwilling to put ourselves out there? Wanting to stay on the sidelines and watch, stay out of harm's way, not risk anything we've worked so hard to build?
Christians have gotten too caught up in wanting to be "liked" more than others in their church, having more members in their church, having more offerings in their plates, having more programs, having more buildings. And I'm not saying that all of these things are bad. I'm saying that our focus has gotten lost. It's not on Christ anymore if it's on numbers, money, or which pastor is liked better than the other.
So, I'm sitting here thinking about these things because my children are very intelligent. They are almost 12 and 14 years old. They are with me ALL the time. They see everything I do, and hear everything I say. Am I being a good example of a Christian to them? Or am I being an example of a hypocrite? Are YOU willing to ask yourself the same questions?
What about going beyond your home? What about your co-workers? Your church family? Your writer's group?
I'm hoping that this post has made you think a little. I know I've been doing a lot of thinking on the subject. I'm working every day on my behavior matching up with my beliefs. Always asking how Christ would handle the situation.
And always remembering John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)
...and Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (NIV)
...and I Peter 1:22 "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." (NIV)
...and Matthew 28:19-20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NASB)