I read a post recently by someone who felt the need to speak out about Christians who “tell other people they are godly,” but aren’t good people. Certainly not the first time I have heard such a rant, and confident it won’t be the last, I felt the urge to encourage those of us perhaps a bit discouraged by such an assessment. First of all, I don’t know a single person who proclaims to be a Christian who walks around telling anyone how holy or godly they are. (If they do, that is a whole other blog post).
And second, in my personal experience, the longer someone follows Jesus, the more they tend to realize their own flaws and shortcomings.
Now, are there people who can be hypocritical? Absolutely. Have I met them? Sure. But have I also met people who don’t believe in anything at all, or hold loosely to some form of “belief” in something, and declare how well-adjusted and “woke” they are with their “tell-it-like-it-is, real,” personas?
Just because someone doesn’t show love, or communicate, the way YOU want them to, does not mean they aren’t loving. Oftentimes, personality differences or personal inability to connect will be perceived as hypocrisy if that person is a person of faith. Some people won’t see eye to eye regardless – it does not invalidate their position or the authenticity of their faith. There is a chasm between people who actively live in hypocrisy and lies of secrecy, (ie Catholic priests who rape children) and those who make human mistakes.
Choosing to follow Jesus will often unearth more of our flaws as we seek to give our lives over to Him, and often become more alienated from people who struggle to watch us change in ways unfamiliar to them .
Sometimes people can know just enough about something to make them dangerously toxic. They pick up one scripture or one general principle, learn a smidge about a cultural expectation, and then run around looking for ways that other people are supposedly violating their own value system. When we don’t meet their expectations of our personal beliefs, BOOM! – we are hypocrites or fake.
(Mind you, they already feel like they won’t measure up to our “expectations” or didn’t like us in the first place anyway, hence the scavenger hunt for dirt …But it still can feel like a loss to us…)
Important to note, is that people who make mistakes who aren’t Christians are held to a different standard. They are afforded a list of reasons why life has done them wrong and challenges have brought them to a place of being fallible. No such grace is afforded to a person who follows Jesus though. Oh goodness, no. Perfection now is the expectation of those around us.
Here is the truth. Someone who truly believes in a sovereign God, truly embraces the belief of Jesus being the Son of God and the covering for our sinful nature, fully recognizes the depravity of their own shortcomings. We pray for redemption, seek direction, and long for the peace that comes when we finally give over our previously held need to be perfect. Those who seek a submitted life to their faith truly desire to do it better than they did before.
Never perfect, but always being perfected.
If you feel judged by others, or feel like you just can’t get it right in the eyes of other people, I pray grace over you today. Please do be sure to take ownership of what does belong to you, and be released to love those who curse you. Jesus didn’t spend any time trying to convince others of his heart, he just focused his time loving on those who chose to receive his love.
Go and do the same.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34
If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. – Matthew 10:14
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! – Matthew 5:44
[ The Wisdom of God ] The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18