What About All the Hypocrites?
By Connie Strasheim
What about all the hypocrites that call themselves Christian, but don't live it?
Several possible answers exist to this question. The first is that people can be religious, and not really know God. They may be Christians for reasons of power, security, or to gain acceptance from others. Perhaps, out of fear, they need to create an ideal of God that has little to do with who He is and their preconceived notions keep them from truly knowing Him. For instance, those who have had abusive upbringings may believe God to possess characteristics akin to their earthly fathers, which hinders them from really experiencing His gentleness.
For others, the message of the Cross has not reached their hearts because of an attitude of ingratitude or a spirit of entitlement towards God. In a society where we are mightily blessed with health and material wealth, we tend to downplay God’s sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a BIG deal. When in fact, without it, we would never have the possibility of eternal life.
Not having truly encountered God will leave a person unchanged, and any attempts at Christ-like behavior are phony.
Apparent hypocrisy also can happen for other reasons. Christians and non-Christians alike tend to uphold an ideal for Christian behavior that may be unrealistic. Christians are expected to live as Jesus Christ did. While this is possible with God’s help, nobody will ever be able to do this as perfectly as Him. Christians who love God strive to love Him and others, but they are nonetheless human and will make mistakes.
Also, rather than expecting immediate and total sanctification, Christians and non-Christians alike ought to realize that holiness is a process that takes a lifetime. Evidence of God working in a Christian’s life is more powerfully seen in someone who has improved tenfold in his behavior towards others since surrendering his life to God. Anyone can spot a hypocrite a mile away because they don't grow in their faith, they settle for their belief in religious practices. For example, a man who was physically and verbally abused as a child and yet who manages not to curse his wife, might be holier in God’s eyes than the man who treats his wife like royalty but who was yet raised by loving parents. What comes more naturally for the “healthy” man may require a supernatural indwelling of God’s spirit in the man who was abused. Hence, it is important to look not only at outward behavior. A person’s holiness cannot be measured by comparing it to some uniform standard of behavior that is expected for all Christians across the board.
Do You Want a Relationship with God?
If you want this kind of relationship with God, pray this prayer right now:
Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you took the pain of the cross to give me new life. I ask you to come into my life and to give me your peace and joy. I confess that I am a sinner -- that I have gone my own way and have done wrong. Please forgive me for my sins. I receive you now as my Lord and Savior. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to follow you and to serve you all my life. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, you are now a child of God. The things of your old life have passed away and He has made all things new.
We want to join you in celebrating your new life. Please send us an e-mail to let us know that you prayed to receive Jesus as your Savior. Or you can call our Prayer Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. A caring friend is available to talk with you and send you some resources to help you begin your walk with the Lord.
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