If you have been walking in the Christian faith for any amount of time- it is likely that you have witnessed this phrase being thrown around, whether it was aimed at you, at the church, or at someone else. This phrase can be extremely complex- depending on how it is used to describe someone.
I have never personally been called this to my face, however; I have felt like a hypocrite by the world’s standards. I have felt like others have thought of me as a hypocrite, and I have felt wrongly perceived as a hypocrite. I struggle with the usage of this word because it is thrown around so freely. Most of the time when it is used- it is to call out people, who claim to have faith in Jesus Christ- for being human and making mistakes. There is a common misconception in the world that if you claim to be a Christian, and you try your best to live a sin-free life and have high moral standards- but you mess up, you are a hypocrite.
I think that the biggest problem with this thought process is that people are putting more faith in the Christian than they are in Christ. This ends up making people disappointed in whom we are in Christ and disappointed because we have let them down and didn’t meet their expectations. Then eventually, people leave the church, leave the body of Christ, or walk away from Jesus altogether. When people hear you are a follower of Christ, they automatically have an expectation of the way that you should live, act, or react. I sometimes think that others have a higher standard or expectation of us than Jesus himself does because they elevate the title instead of the Father. We always must make sure that we are more in love with Jesus than we are with those who represent Him- because they will fail us.
There is real hypocrisy in this world, but that looks more like a lifestyle than it does a moment of disappointment by someone you respect in the faith. These are the people who refuse to examine their hearts because of their pride. They refuse to see the error of their ways or admit that they are fallible. These are NOT the people who love Jesus but are broken. These are NOT the people who examine their hearts and admit their faults, ask for forgiveness and try their hardest to change their ways. These are NOT the people who make mistakes, fail, then get up and try again- those are the real followers of Christ.
The mercy, grace, and forgiveness that Jesus has given us are so abundant that our minds have a really hard time reciprocating it. We are quick to walk away from people who disappoint us. We are quick to anger when someone hurts us, we like to hang onto our hurts and frustrations and act irrationally instead of making things right and talking through the pain. Jesus was the great Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. That’s not who we are- although it should be whom we desire to be like. We should desire to bring peace in all circumstances. We should never allow anger, hurt, or frustration to separate us from the body of Christ- but to bring us closer together. To learn from our mistakes, and to give others the opportunity to apologize. There will be people who love Jesus- but mess up. And that is exactly why we are his followers! We are not perfect- but we are forgiven. How thankful I am that grace abounds. How thankful I am that Jesus Christ gave his life for me, not because I am perfect- but because I am NOT! Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. “