I wrote an earlier post titled Hypocrites for Jesus. This is part 2. Check out the first post here.
Often people who don’t follow Jesus claim that Jesus’ followers are hypocrites. We who follow Jesus can be a great reason to abstain from following him. I don’t need to speak for the group. Individually, I am capable of some great failures with my faith. I seldom live up to the life Jesus calls me to. I can be angry, selfish, lazy, uncaring, and I can do all of that before breakfast.
What does one do when we realize we are part of the problem? What do you do when you discover you’re a hypocrite?
“Hi! I’m Mike and I’m a hypocrite.” Once I recognize the problem, like step 1 of the AA program, I need to acknowledge it. I must get as honest as I can be and realize I’m not who I claim to be. Following Jesus means I can’t stay the way I am. He calls us to live differently.
I must be transparent as possible. God already knows my shortcomings, but I tell him anyway. I want to agree with him that I won’t measure up except through his love and sacrifice. He paid for my sins knowing I would sin again. Romans 5:8 says that even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He already knows.
Because Jesus knows, we can admit the reality to the people around us too. Where possible, we need to confess to others who may have witnessed our behavior. The confession needs to match the knowledge and the impact of the offense. If it was a minor thing, simply apologizing will serve as notice to others that you’re trying to change. You only need to inform people who were aware in the first place.
Whatever we have done that has gone counter to our public profile, we must change. If we have gossiped about others, we must stop. If we have lost our temper or acted selfishly, we must quit. Talk is cheap. My hypocrisy proves my beliefs. The more I trust Christ, the less I will live a double life. And I experience great joy and peace when I do everything as if I do it for Jesus (Colossians 3:23-24).
We may need to make something right. Simply apologizing in the Confess step above isn’t the same as doing something to make things right. Do whatever it takes to repay anyone you offended. Ask God and some friends who follow Jesus for advice on this or discuss it with your pastor. But don’t let any aching shortcoming keep you from restoring peace.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18
Following Jesus makes us different, but it doesn’t happen all at once. When we discover our own shortcomings, let’s give them to Jesus. When we acknowledge, confess, stop, and make right, we give Jesus honor. We will screw up. Let’s ask Jesus to show us how honor him in and through our failures.
Do you believe Christians are hypocrites? What experiences have you had with hypocrisy and what would you add to these thoughts?