i will admit that hypocrites have EVERY right to turn me off. there is nothing about putting on a fake show on the outside that is admirable or lovable. in fact, Jesus rebukes the crap out of it in Matthew. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” Matthew 15:8. i would hate for Jesus to describe me as this. but hold up for one hot second. Jesus, the one with the highest authority to condemn and judge also had the highest love to still die for these guys. when He was on that cross, He was thinking in His heart with the deepest compassion, “those are the ones i love. those are the ones that i’m doing this for. i want those guys in my family. my heart breaks for them, but may they spend eternity in paradise with me.”
^ okay, all i’m gonna say is that if Jesus thought THAT, then FUDGE, i can stop right there. eff me for thinking otherwise. i am utterly ruined for hating hypocrites. sure, i can’t find their silver lining, but wow… Jesus died for them too? buuut since our post-modern world is so stubborn and has a fake “desire for practicality” (honestly, i’m just gonna call it what it is and say that it’s cynicism), i’ll explain myself further.
what i’m about to type is going to be capitalized for emphasis, but here it goes: WOULD IT MAKE ANY SENSE IF THE CHURCH WERE PERPETUALLY FREE OF HYPOCRITES?? no, it wouldn’t! you wanna know why? because Jesus died for them!! Jesus wanted to INCLUDE the worst of the worse inside His church! not that they would stay in their sin, but that they would die to their flesh and come to completely surrender their life to the Lord… even if it takes (oh, i dunno) the entire duration of their college career! or even longer! that’s why i want to see hypocrites in the church! i want to see them CHANGED by the love of God starting where they are! i PRAY that hypocrites would file into our church and begin to hear the gospel and be discipled by it and learn from Jesus. just an aside, but btw, learning takes a while, so have some patience, for goodness’ sake!
i think the problem is that we love sanctification too much. or rather, we LOOOVE sanctification in other people, but when it comes to sanctification in us, nope, not so much. it’s so easy to call people out in our minds. it’s so easy to point and say that they’re not living biblically. but man, i pray that we’d be the kind of people that for every ONE thing we point out in someone else, we’d find like FIVE more things wrong with ourselves. i love what Paul says when He writes in 1 Timothy 1:
“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life., “
It’s not that there was some sort of ESPN Rankings for sinners, and Paul came in dead last. but rather, Paul had the audacity. the conviction. the humility to say that he has absolutely no place to hatefully judge another man. but to say “hey, if God can do it through me, He can certainly do something through that one person that messes up all the time.”
of course, i will say that there are things that are just not okay. lying isn’t okay. faking isn’t okay. i hope that in all of this i wasn’t justifying hypocrisy. and i’m not defending the cause of hypocrites as much as i am trying to rebuke cynicism and judgment. this isn’t some long-winded way of telling you guys to give people the benefit of the doubt. but rather, i want this to be a slap in the face and a hearty reminder that (a) you’re not God, (b) you suck too, and (c) there’s grace for that, so let’s turn our eyes upon JESUS and worship HIM for who HE is, and not what our congregation is!! i want to be a man of God. a man that loves God. not a man that loves sanctification more than God.
and my very last word on the subject is that it’s truly all about Jesus… i’d rather walk out of church thinking “wow, what a great God” rather than “wow, what a great pastor and congregation”. fundamentally, God is what keeps me going to church and loving the church. not the people.