Many of us know that a very common criticism of the church: hypocrisy. Non-church goers argue that they don’t want to be around people who claim to be Christians, but they are the biggest offenders of all. It’s sad, but true. If I have offended you, please keep reading.
Sometimes we think that our actions don’t matter, that what we do on a daily basis, or how we handle difficulties aren’t making a difference. WRONG. The saying goes: “The world is watching.” It’s true, as well. The whole world is not really watching me, but my world of influence is: friends, coworkers, family, and those we associate ourselves with through social media, etc.
Just because we are Christians because we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior, doesn’t mean that we don’t still sin. Although Christ has moved in, our selfish, human nature is still there, so we aren’t different from anyone else. We’re all equal. We do the best we can to ignore it, but it doesn’t go away. We do our best to learn to be like Christ while we work to overcome our “flesh.” We are all works in progress. We won’t be perfect until Jesus returns. I wish that we would accept that, and stop striving for perfection because it’s not going to happen. I also wish that no matter what we believe, that everyone would start treating one another better.
So, to those who want to avoid such hypocrites, you never will. You will run into humans, who are just like you, everywhere and especially in church. Christians are learning how to be like Christ, the key word is “learning” and where do we learn our lessons? At church. Whenever we are learning something new, it means we will make mistakes, and fail miserably. But, it’s OKAY. God’s grace is sufficient for everyone. Thank, God. I definitely don’t have it together all the time. I have yet to go more than a day or so without “sinning” whether through my thoughts, words, or actions. It seems that I learn from one sin, only to commit another.
One big problem is probably forgiveness. Whether you’re a Christian or not, we definitely hold other Christians to high standards. We assume that because we believe in the Ultimate Forgiver, that we ourselves are quite forgiving. Oh, how I wish it were true. I’ve heard a lot of people, myself included, say that we can’t forgive (fill in the blank) yet because he or she (fill in the blank). We are in no position to decide whether someone deserves forgiveness or not. God tells us to forgive because it’s for us, not for the offender. God promises to deal with the offender: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap,” Galatians 6:7 (NKJV).
If forgiving someone is a struggle, we are to ask God to help us. Forgiving someone does not EXCUSE the offender for what they’ve done. Instead, we’re giving the offender over to God to judge, deal with, etc. Forgiving the offender gives us FREEDOM because it’s not our responsibility. That belongs to the God who is the only one who can properly judge our sins. We know this is true because we feel bitter, anger, or even ill when we carry unforgiveness around. When we tell God that we either forgive the offender, or that we want to but need help, God is quick to help us. The burden is lifted off of us when we do it.
Here’s another way to explain what I’m saying. I stumbled across it during my devotion: “Perhaps we were disappointed when we found out how deeply flawed Christians can be. We are holy in Him, of course; all sins are washed away in His sacrifice. But the sinful nature often rears its ugly head. How do we respond when we see the nature of the world within the walls of the church? Jesus’ followers are the walking wounded . . . we bring our flaws to Him, and He is compassionate. We must be also.” — Chris Tiegreen.
We all fall short of the glory of God. No one is perfect. None of us are above any sin. The second we think “Oh, I’d never do –” We’re in trouble. Christians! We need to be a lot more gracious toward one another. If anything, we Christians, understand forgiveness and we ought to do it way more than we actually do. If anyone has crossed your mind while reading my post, chances are that God is urging you to forgive him or her. It’s not easy, but He is so faithful to help you! Trust me. He has been faithful in helping me forgive every single offender I’ve ever known.
The world is watching. Let us show them that we are living examples of the gospel. Jesus died for our sins, too. We’re not above any sin because only by God’s grace we haven’t committed a certain sin or two. We need to forgive others as we believe (and preach) that Jesus has forgiven us. Then we will continue to experience freedom and joy the Lord offers us :).