Your Church +Portland


Hypocrites Anonymous

Anyone ever wonder why churches are filled with so many hypocrites? Dare to read if you will.   

When I was younger, I considered hypocrites to be my teenage friends who I knew didn’t love God but were made to go to church. They smoked, partied, slept around, listened to AC/DC and cussed like a sailor. Some did drugs. But when it came to Sunday, they were good Christian kids in church. ‘Extreme hypocrites’ (usually girls for some reason) were the ones who did the above and they sang all of the songs in church or led them! However I figured them to be hypocrites only because they were made to go to church, so in the end I let them off the hook. When I got older I realized hypocrisy was a church-wide epidemic. It was deeper than contradicting lifestyle choices and affected the lives of far more adults than I imagined.  I’ll hand it to the adults though – they did a way better job of concealing it than my teenage friends! Unfortunately nobody made the adults go to church so it was time my simple understanding of hypocrisy expanded. I cracked open my huge Greek Lexicon for clarity on the matter (no that’s not a foreign sports car), and was amazed at my discovery; “An actor; under an assumed character.”

Many Pharisees 2000 years ago were named hypocrites by Jesus. They were Law abiders, but the way Jesus lays it out it appears that the Pharisees biggest problem was that they lost touch with the heart of the One who created the Law. So Jesus called them actors. They knew how to do it all, they just forgot why. As good actors do, they played their parts really, really well and knew their lines better than anyone; but in the end they were just good actors. The Law itself was good, but when they spent all their time focused on it, they ended up focusing on perfecting themselves. They created their own limelight of expectation, assuming themselves as righteous, parading only those willing to join them in this quest for perfection. The results were devastating, judgmental, heartless and loveless. Oh they were good at what they did, but they lost touch with what mattered.

Just like Pharisees, churches are filled with hypocrites…those of us that don’t allow Jesus enough time to touch the matters of the heart, in order for transformation to take place. We start out pure but somewhere along the way we are led to believe that pleasing God entails conforming to rules and expectations. For instance, try to remember the felt or said expectations when you began committing to church. As for me, I remember being faced with expectations like attendance, giving, confrontations about my demeanor, my clothing, not having the proper confession, my lack of participation and the list goes on. Now whether you relate with me or not, if you’ve attended church for any time at all you will recall that when you started out your local church was to some degree a big cultural, sociological shift calling for your conformation! People dressed a certain way, talked a certain way, gave a certain way, sang a certain way and treated you a certain way. With hopes of fitting in, many of us conformed to the expectations before we were ever transformed; thus began the hypocrisy. The human soul cannot conform to what has not been transformed. So without a transformation the Christian enters the limelight of a culture of rules and expectations for their first dramatic performance of hypocrisy, by modifying their behavior before their ever-watching church audience. The results? Tremendous with overwhelming approval. Yes, another star is born! Unfortunately, this unholy culture of rules and expectations force feeds Christians like KFC does chickens. Unnoticed and within weeks, churches are raising fat Christians, great actors, and professional know it all’s; people good at what they do, but have lost touch with what matters. In some churches, the great actors get promoted to 5-fold directors…if you catch my drift.

So let’s face it, we have all had our hand at acting and can admit to having succeeded. But when we’re honest with ourselves and allow God to touch the matters of the heart, we find that acting and the promise of a career in it is just a waste of time. If you want to drop out of acting school, you have to be okay with God loving you just the way you are. He isn’t trying to fix or change us, nor does He care about behavioral modification. If your behavior is sinful, let Him get to the root; He’s good at it. You have nothing to prove to Him. He doesn’t judge, condemn and for those who study their Bible – check this out – He doesn’t convict you either. He loves being given the chance to heal, mend, restore and transform your soul. Give Him the chance and you’ll end up loving Him like crazy, serving Him because you want to. It’s called being a son and daughter. Where the heart comes alive and you can see what really matters. No acting necessary.

I’m starting a new group called, Hypocrites Anonymous. We sit around and talk about who we fooled and how. Then we cry about the lives we hurt. Then we pledge that by the grace of God we will let Jesus continue to transform us. We make true friends. We also pledge to never go back to acting again. Anyone want to join?

Pastor Shian

Pastor ShianComment