The biggest reason people give for not attending church is that it is filled with hypocrites, but I wonder what they mean by that. Sure, there are people who live one way at home and then go act spiritual on Sunday mornings, but there are also a lot of church attendees who are fighting the good fight which is not to be confused with having attained perfection.
People laugh about the mom who can be in the middle of yelling at her kids but the minute the phone rings, she instantly changes her tone to a sweet, “Hello.” That is hypocrisy.
It’s hypocrisy for a pastor to preach against sexual immorality and then frequent an adult establishment later that week.
Hypocrisy is pretending to be something that you are not. However, there are things that may appear this way to the world but which would not be included in that camp. I think of the lines in Squire Parson’s song “Filled with the Spirit”:
We may cry when we’re happy
We may laugh when we’re sad
We may even say “Praise the Lord” when things turn out bad
These things do not make you a hypocrite. You cannot control your emotions, but you can control your actions. For instance, forgiveness is a Biblical mandate for Believers. I write about it frequently because Scripture tells us that, if we want to be forgiven, we must forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15). I want grace and forgiveness extended to me, but I will be honest that I’m having a hard time forgiving some people right now. The difference between a Christian and an unbeliever is that a Christian will keep praying that God will change his heart. He will refuse to wish someone dead, will pray for the person who has wronged him, and will guard against feeding the emotions that keep rising to the surface. Struggling does not make you a hypocrite; rather, it is part of fighting the good fight.
I hope that we will not harshly judge others for trying to do the right things even when they don’t feel it, but we also need to examine ourselves and make sure that we are not the ones the world is referring to when they say that the church is full of hypocrites.