Don't you just hate hypocrisy?
I have heard many many times when talking about my Christianity these words (and I guess we have all been on the receiving end of them at some stage) "I don't go to church - it is full of hypocrites"
You know - I have come to realise that they absolutely correct - Basically we are all hypocrites - none of us truly are what we say we are - we are sinful and disobedient to God - we have all fallen short of His standards and it is only through his grace that we are saved in the first place.
Cliff Knechtle wrote and I quote "We are all either trying to hide our bad sides or we try to make them look good. But deep inside we all know that we fall short of living the way we should. No one can escape the charge of 'hypocrite'. No one except Jesus who is the only one able to live to God's standards"
So, to the "I wouldn't darken the doors of the church because of so many hypocrites there" I say "We'd gladly make room for you there is plenty of room for us all." We don't offer "Christians' to our friends and neighbours we are offering the CHRIST.
Jesus is the only one who can really see the condition of our hearts - what's really lurking there under the masks we love to put on.
Twice now I have seen churches ask people to leave because they didn't come up to some standard - I have heard sermons on how we should love everyone including the un-lovely, the left-out ones, the prostitutes and homeless, the drunkards and drug affected, which is wonderful and sounds just like Jesus until it actually happens!
What about the convicted murderer, or the paedophile, those who are addicted to pornography on a grand scale especially child pornography - what about those?
It's time's like these that our true colours are exposed and our hypocrisy can be seen by the world.
Being a grandfather of five I can certainly understand reticence on the church in admitting these seekers, heaps of things to consider, especially the safety and well-being of children which I am sure God would want us to consider very carefully.
On saying that, the question I am left pondering is this "How would Jesus have reacted to this type of situation?" Honesty on the part of these people can lead to exclusion from the church and ostracism from the membership. I am sure that we could come up with what is acceptable to God and to the church without having to resort to expulsion.
With God there are no 'grades' of sin - he hates sin especially hypocrisy - Jesus died to do away with sin - our sins are cleansed once we through faith claim the gift God offers us through his awesome yet amazing grace. ALL sin is cleansed through Christ's sacrifice regardless of what that sin is. NO sin is TOO GROSS to be forgiven.
Yes of course we have to be careful but at the end of the day, Jesus saves and satisfies. He and He alone took on the burden of our sin be it hypocrisy or Paedophilia, murder or offence, He and He alone was the only one worthy enough to pay that price. What right have we got to define who is admitted to His church.
So who are you when it comes to hypocrisy the Princess or the Prince? - Looking really good on the inside, able to preach a WOW of a sermon that has the people out of their seats and all gung-ho ready to go?
Or are you a Pauper, which in fact we all are! We are all Paupers in the eye of God - all needing change and deliverance from our sins to make us into Princesses and Princes in the 'real' sense of the word. Royalty living as Jesus lived, loving EVERYONE as Jesus did, accepting and showing His grace, mercy and love to all.
Hypocrisy is an evil, sneaky and deadly little sin and one that won't ever be tolerated by a just God.