I’m an expert at pointing out hypocrisy…
I know Christians who avoid alcohol at all costs, even in cough medicines, but think nothing of frequenting restaurants, or walking down Beale Street, where alcohol is everywhere. While not partaking in spirits, these same teetotalers are quick to gossip about fellow believers who do enjoy the occasional adult beverage.
I know Christians who condemn tobacco use, but who, themselves, overeat and abuse their own bodies through bad habits and lack of exercise.
I know Christians who are quick to send all homosexuals to hell, while justifying their own sexual misconduct as a lapse of judgment or a moment of weakness.
I know Christians who will fight for the rights of the unborn while hiding their own racist attitudes behind politically conservative ideas.
You see, I’m an expert at pointing out hypocrisy in others.
But in my own life…
…who are you to judge me?
I think the reason I despise hypocrisy so much is because it is so rampant in my own life and I simply don’t want to deal with it. It is much easier (and more fun) to point hypocrisy out in others than it is to deal with it in my own life. However, pointing out hypocrisy in others without dealing with hypocrisy in my own life is…well…hypocritical.
You have your list of unapproved sins and I have my list of unapproved sins. If my list is similar to your list we will gather together for prayer, praying for all those whose lists are different from ours. (“Bless their little hearts…”)
It’s a vicious dilemma.
The only way out is grace.
Not a cheap grace that overlooks all questionable areas of our lives, but a costly grace that requires understanding, accountability and forgiveness.
The good news of the gospel is that because of Jesus we have been set free from the shackles of rules and the bondage of sin.
But with freedom comes responsibility.
The responsibility to give others room to grow in their faith.
The responsibility to trust the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, and ours.
The responsibility to allow for cultural differences and norms to dictate conscience on some non-esssential issues.
The responsibility to show grace by speaking truth in love to those who have erred.
The responsibility to show grace by listening to others who, through love, are speaking into our lives.
This type of grace is difficult.
This type of grace is costly.
It cost Jesus His life.
More than likely there are things you do that I would find unacceptable.
Accepting one another, warts and all, without judgment, is not hypocritical. In reality, not accepting one another is hypocritical.
I despise hypocricy.
Especially in my own life.
God help me.
Pray for me.
But please, extend grace.
I will try and do the same.