They’re All Hypocrites
I was recently asked a series of questions that many Christians have heard from non-believers who are skeptical of Christianity based solely upon the actions of modern-day churchgoers. I listened to questions like, “How can God let murderers go to Heaven?” and, “Why don’t we kill adulterers outside the city gates?” I also heard this common position: “Everyone who goes to church is a hypocrite. All of those Christians just role into church acting like they’re holier than everyone else, and then they just go on sinning like everyone else on Monday.”
These are classic signs of a skeptic of Christianity. But, if I can tell you the truth, I love hearing these positions. When I hear somebody say this, it tells me they have an interest, that there is an open door, that the message of the gospel is ripe for the teaching.
Because I go to church on Sundays and sin on Mondays doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it makes me human. What matters is how I grow in Christ, and what I do to remove sin from my life through intentional change.
The‘hypocritical-Christian’ statement is actually a very valid position. Hypocrisy is accused because many people, both churchgoers and non-churchgoers, have a skewed idea of the reasons we go to church. It’s important to remember that nobody at the church wears a halo. Church is not a gathering of the most perfect people in town, but rather a fellowship of those of us who are spiritually ill, which includes . . . every single person.
Everyone, in some form, goes to church for healing. Because I go to church on Sundays and sin on Mondays doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it makes me human. What matters is how I grow in Christ, and what I do to remove sin from my life through intentional change. I’ll never be perfect, but I can’t let that be an excuse to willfully continue sinning. To grow closer to Christ, we must live further from sin.
A quick story out of the Gospel of Mark sums up this point. Mark 2:15-17 says, “Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (NKJV).
Think of church as a spiritual hospital. Everyone who walks in the door is facing a major spiritual problem. We want to spend eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven, but there’s a huge pandemic plaguing humanity. This disease is called sin. You cannot enter heaven with sin. You cannot, by your own actions, eliminate sin from your life, and thus be accepted into God’s Kingdom. The only way to heaven is through your acceptance of the blood of Christ to forgive your sins (see page 7).
The problem arises when skeptics see churchgoers acting un-Christlike during the week. If you are one of the people who look at churchgoers as hypocrites, I would ask you to simply understand that none of us are perfect. All churchgoers are in different stages of their Christian walk. Some people have been going to church for 30 years, have a deep understanding of the Bible, and yet are still growing. On the other side, some people who go to church are not even Christians yet. They are spiritual babes drinking spiritual milk. They may still be moving out of a life of sin, and into a life of repentance and forgiveness. As a Christian matures in faith, they find life can become easier to manage when separating their actions in Christ, from the misguided actions our world accepts as correct.
If you are a churchgoer, and you know that your Monday through Saturday life is not currently showing the Spirit of Jesus, I ask you to keep in mind that when your neighbors see you load into your car on Sunday with the Bible in your hand, in their mind you are a representation of Jesus. The actions you show your neighbors from Sunday afternoon until late Saturday evening are going to determine if your unsaved neighbors will come to you with questions, will accept your invitation to church, or are going to cross their arms, turn their back, and continue to say, “I want no part of that.”
If you are the neighbor who is determined to stay away from church because of all the hypocrites, I would simply like to tell you that we are all in healing. We would love for you to join us. There is comfort here. Jesus brings rest, healing, and security for your soul. Even if you know nothing about the Bible, or very little about Jesus, we understand. For every babe, the church has plenty of spiritual milk. For every sinner, Jesus offers forgiveness and salvation.