This was originally posted on 7/4/2012
Let me start off by saying that I am a Christian. And yes, I am calling myself a hypocrite.
Merriam-webster.com states that a Christian is; “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ”
Merriam-webster.com also states that a hypocrite is “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings”
Notice two key points here. First, according to this particular definition, it is not actions that define someone as being a Christian. Really, it is not even a belief, but merely the profession of a belief, that qualifies someone as being Christian. That is interesting to know.
The second key point is that a hypocrite is someone whose actions do not line up with their profession of belief. Can you see where I’m going with this?
More specifically, it is the profession of belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ that qualifies someone as Christian. This can even be supported by scripture; Romans 10:9 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (NKJV). Believe and confess. So where did this emphasis on works come from as a defining trait of Christianity? Does not Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works, lest anyone should boast in themselves?
Anyways, to believe in His teachings, one must know them, correct? And how would someone know His teachings unless he or she studied them? So, what did He teach? How about Matthew 5? The entire chapter is good, but we will begin at verse 21. From that verse on, He reflects upon the old Law and teaches us a new way to perceive them. First He addresses murder. It is not enough to limit the sin of murder to the actual act of taking someone’s life physically, but He tells us that our anger and response to that anger, physically or verbally, is a type of murder that is no different in His eyes. He tells us that if we have issues with one another, then we need to resolve them because they can interfere with our relationship with the Father.
Then He talks about adultery and how lust is played out in the mind long before it is played out in the flesh. A little later He talks about our words in regard to making oaths or swearing before people, telling us we should simply let our answers be simplistic in nature, letting our integrity convince people, rather than the persuasive nature of our tongues.
Then He talks about when people ask us for something, or those in authority demand something of us, we not only grant the request, but to go above and beyond.
Then He talks about loving our neighbor, but not limiting who our neighbor is to simply those we like, but that we should even bless our enemies.
So, why did I bring all this up? I am a Christian. I profess that I have a belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I just listed some of the things He taught on. Yet every day I fail to uphold just these few I have listed. For every day I commit any combination of these actions which oppose His teachings. Therefore, my actions contradict my stated beliefs. This is why I am a hypocrite.
Is this something I am proud of? No. It actually stings a little. Even more so if you consider the Dictionary.com version of hypocrite; “a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.”
I am not making excuses for sin. There is no justification for sin, only for sinners. There is a vast difference. I cannot stand it when I hear Christians say “Well, no one’s perfect” when confronted with their sin. As if that was validation for their actions. It drives me crazy when non-believers are the first to rub Christians’ faces in their sin, but quickly say “Don’t judge me” when it comes to theirs.
I would rather be called a hypocrite from attempting to live the life that Jesus taught, but fail to carry it out, then to straddle the fence or possess no faith at all. It stings to call myself a hypocrite but it motivates me to do better. I am not ashamed to state my goal, even if I fail to reach them from time to time. But my actions, or lack thereof, do not qualify me or disqualify me, from being a Christian.
So, people should consider their words carefully when attacking me, or any Christian, for it is my profession of belief that marks me as His. So if someone sees one of us doing or saying something that they deem as “un-Christian-like”, and call us out on it, saying, “Well, that’s not very Christian of you,” they are only showing their ignorance.