I Am A Hypocrite

A true hypocrite is one who sees the hypocrisy in others but never in himself.

For years, accusations of hypocrisy have been directed toward the church. People say, “I’m not going to church because it’s full of hypocrites.” And it most certainly is. There are churches with pastors who preach one thing and do the opposite. There are even churches that have taken their hypocrisy to such levels that they would be doing society and the Kingdom of Christ a favor by shutting down. In fact, no church, no matter how good, is a hypocrite-free zone.

But is that different than any other area of society?

Sports fans yell at a TV telling their favorite player to run faster while they lay on the couch knowing that it would cost them a full five minutes and possibly a heart attack to get up and run to the refrigerator and back.

Media outlets talk a big game about feminism while at the same time producing and promoting art that treats women as nothing more than sex objects.

Politicians give us elaborate, impassioned speeches informing us that guns are bad and we are bad if we want them. All the while, they are surrounded by security guards with guns.

And, of course, if you were to walk into a Wal-Mart at this very moment you would hear a woman screaming. And why would she be screaming? She would be screaming at her small child to, you guessed it, stop screaming.

So the church doesn’t have the market cornered on hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is everywhere. Even in the church. And as the pastor of a church, the hypocrites are exactly who I want coming.

Guess where one of the dirtiest places in your restroom is? It’s probably not where you think. You know that really expensive soap dispenser you bought at the mall? The one that shoots out soap smelling like a meadow. The part where people put their hands to push the soap out is one of the dirties places in your entire house.

That’s odd, isn’t it?

The place with the most germs is the place where dirty people come to get clean.

To be clear, simply going to church doesn’t make anyone clean. But it is in church, at least a good one, where we learn about the depth of our impurity. That’s the real reason why some people don’t like coming to church. They’d rather go on thinking that they’re better than they really are. That’s the very definition of hypocrisy.

A good church doesn’t just remind us of how depraved we are. It also shows us how loving Jesus is. Nor does a good church allow us to settle in our depravity and place our identity in it all in the name of love. It comes along side us, bears our burdens and helps us to keep step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25 and 6:1-3).

I am a hypocrite.

I’m especially reminded of that whenever I preach a sermon about God’s holiness of Jesus’ love.

I am a hypocrite.

But I know it.

And a few times every week, I love being with other people who are well aware of their own hypocrisy.

Together, we lean hard on Jesus and worship him for saving people like us who aren’t good enough to save ourselves.

I am a hypocrite.

But I’m not content to stay that way. I can’t think of a better context than the community of believers otherwise known as the Church to do the hard work of kicking my habit.

I am a hypocrite.

What about you?

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 (ESV)

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