Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hipocrisy: The Challenge to Live Authentically

In his book, “UnChristian,” David Kinnaman and supporting authors along with the Barna Research Group give weight to the subject of how the church and Christians are viewed by those who do not attend church and do not claim to be Christians.  The book is a reality check which I would suggest every Christian to read.  It is a book about perceptions, and although perceptions are not always accurate, the way Christianity is perceived is driving away people by the dozens.
I would offer to suggest that nearly everyone understands what a hypocrite is and that no one, believer or unbeliever, should be a hypocrite.  We should live what we preach and do what we say and walk like we talk.  But we are sinners, no one is perfect.  A contributing author to Kinnaman’s book writes the following.  Please read it, and then read it one more time.  What he has to say in this matter of a perception of hypocrisy is very insightful and challenging.

“What is behind many –not all, but many – charges and accusations against the character and integrity of Christians is the demand for perfection in the life of anyone who claims to be a Christian and urges others to consider Christianity as well.   This is not, of course, the true meaning of a hypocrite, but even more to the point, it is not an accurate understanding of what it means to enter into the Christian life.
                Yet the world holds us to it, because we hold ourselves – and others – to it.  We fall prey to the charge of hypocrisy because we have reduced spirituality to a list of moral benchmarks coupled with a good dose of judgmentalism.
                The only way to regain our footing is to remind ourselves – and others – that an authentic Christian is simply someone who has made the decision to believe in Jesus as his forgiver and then attempt [I would replace “attempt” to “commit”]to follow him as his leader.  But nowhere in this series of events is perfection or sinlessness.  Rather, there is simply the intention effort and sincere desire to recognize God as, well God.
                Simply put, we must stop presenting ourselves as the message and begin presenting Jesus as the message.  There will be disappointment with Christians as long as there are imperfect people.  Since all Christians are imperfect, there will always be disappointment.  So we must stop having the message of Christ tied to our butchered efforts.” (pg. 65,66)

                Basically, what the author is getting as is that we are perceived as hypocrites because we are wearing an un-needed mask.  Should we strive to set an example with our lives how to live as Christ? YES.  But, we are not the example.  The example has already lived, died then rose again, and reigns on high!  The example is well documented for us in the wonderful Word of God!  We can avoid a perception of hypocrisy by living authentically.  This is done by living with integrity, purity, and transparency.  We must call a spade a spade in that we are sinners.  We will fail people just as people will continue to fail us.  But Christ will never fail you!  Let’s actually live like we are pointing people to Christ, and not to our “butchered efforts.”

1 comment:

  1. I think a lot of progress would be made if Christians accept the fact that they, too, are hypocrites. Everyone is. The only Man who wasn't a hypocrite lived, died and rose again a little over 2,000 years ago. It's not fair for unbelievers to judge the faithful on those grounds, yet they do. But the fact is that atheists/agnostics have an eagle eye for that kind of thing and they seem to take joy in pointing it out and ridiculing those who believe they have been forgiven of this sin. Even they acknowledge that hypocrisy is reprehensible. So they see Christians walking around as if they aren't hypocrites anymore, when the fact of the matter is that they are just as much hypocrites as they were when the Lord forgave them. Atheists and non-Deists obviously don't believe it can (or needs to be) forgiven, the idea that it could just automatically disappear, that a person is "good to go" and "healed" of hypocrisy, well that's just foolishness. Hypocrisy isn't an illness or a disease that can be cured. It's the human condition, one of many unfortunate by-products of the Fall of Man.

    " Simply put, we must stop presenting ourselves as the message and begin presenting Jesus as the message."


    Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion in this forum.