Hypocrite — that’s right… I said it

Hypocrite… the “H” word.  The word thrown at Christians and church goers like darts at a dartboard.  Very few “non-curse” words strike up as much emotion and fervor as this word. Today I am going there… all the way there.

It is listed as the primary reason that more people aren’t involved with corporate church worship services and/or membership.  And we all have been there.  We’ve all tossed that word at an individual (or at least thought it).  Many times the term is used to describe an entire body of believers… i.e, “that church isn’t anything but a bunch of hypocrites!”

Webster defines the term as: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion – a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

I’ve been accused of being a hypocrite… and chances are, you have too, that is – if you have ever been so bold as to stand up and state your beliefs enough for people to know what you stand for.  The last thing that I ever want to do is to cast a shadow of doubt on my Lord or to tarnish His image in me.  But it has happened.  My human imperfections have more than once been used to reflect negatively on a perfect God.  For that, I am grieved.

Jesus has used the term:

Matthew 6:4-6

New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward 5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

So has Paul:

Acts 23:2-4

New Living Translation (NLT)

2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. 3 But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”

4 Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”

I remember going out to visit some church members with my pastor one evening.  As we drove to this particular mans house the pastor explained to me that the gentleman we were going to see had not been to church in a long time.  He was a very nice man, but he was adamant that would not be back to our church.  When asked for a reason, he explained that he didn’t intend to sound crass, but that our church was “full of hypocrites.”

The pastor patted the man on the back and said, “It’s sad, but true.  Aren’t we all?”  Perplexed, the man gave a long pause.  Then softly he said, “Well, I suppose we are.”

Then with a chuckle, the pastor said, “Come on back, man.  We miss you.  Our church could always use another hypocrite.”  The following Sunday, on the back row, the man sat with his family.

I don’t want to make excuses for blatant hypocrites.  I also don’t want to nurse those who use hypocrites as an excuse for avoiding the Christian life.  Indeed, an excuse is nothing more than a lie disguised as a reason.  I will say, however, that the Christian needs to be very careful.  He needs to remember that he is being watched by two groups of people.  He’s being observed by the ones that know what he claims to be, and the ones who have no idea about his claims.  To both groups we are to be a light… not a hindrance.  We should be slow to judge and quick to remember that :

Romans 3:22-24

New Living Translation (NLT)

22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

We, as Christians, are no better than anyone else.  We are simply forgiven from the dreadful selves we once were.  We need to show the love of Jesus to the world around us, and show them that He cares for them.  It is not the job of the believer to be a “fruit inspector” of the ones around us.  Heart-changing is God’s business and His alone.  He simply asks us to plant seeds.  This task is difficult enough already without the added hardship of having to make amends.  

As you go through your life today, be mindful of the reflection you are giving off. And as your brother in the faith, I will try to do the same so that you won’t have to clean up a mess that I leave behind.

There you have it.

Truth wins!


~ by Scott Herrin on June 13, 2011.

5 Responses to “Hypocrite — that’s right… I said it”

  1. My latest favorite…thank you, Scott.

  2. I really like this one, Scott. It speaks to the truth of the matter and is something we all deal with. None of us are perfect but so many try so hard to pretend to be. I have been accused of being a hypocrite (even by some family members that I love deeply). It took me a long time to realize that when they accuse ME of that, it usually means they’re dealing with their own feelings and failings. Thankfully, when I mess up, I get to ask His forgiveness and it’s always given. So thankful for His mercy & grace on this majorly imperfect human! 🙂

    • You so hit the nail on the head. We are ALLin the same boat. None of us will ever be good enough to make it to heaven on our own. It is all by His grace. Stay strong!

  3. Hey Scott- Yes, I am hearing it more and more these days…even met a lady recently who is trained as a “life coach” ministering to people who are unhappy with the church. Interesting times. My own dad even once described my family as “the ones who go to church.” We know many people who are genuinely doing their best to share His love and we will keep trying also. Thanks again for your devotions…LOVED the one about friends too. We sure miss you and your sweet family too!!

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