How many times have I heard these kinds of statements; “I don’t want to go to church because it is full of hypocrites. Those people in there make me sick; you can’t trust any of them. I don’t want to have any part of them. I used to go there but no more, no way.”
Well, I have to agree with you, I have been more hurt by Christians than people who don’t profess to believe in Christ. I have suffered thousands of dollars of loss more by those within the walls of a church than outside of it. I have been lied to many times by my “brothers and sisters.” I have seen behavior totally equal to, or worse than that of pagans. All true. To be honest I am certain that there are quite a few Christians that don’t come to church because they don’t want to fellowship with people of this kind either.
However, may I make a simple observation of sorts? Should a church be boycotted because it is filled with imperfect people, even hypocrites? And, if so, does that same standard apply to other institutions as well? Does it apply to businesses, banks and auto mechanics? Here’s my point – every establishment that involves humankind is filled with hypocrisy and imperfect people, the Church is no exception.
Isn’t a bank filled with hypocrisy? Absolutely, people there don’t always do what they say they will do, yet we continue to patronize them. How about contractors? They don’t always do what they say they will do, but we continue to hire them. Used car salesmen? Gardeners? Medical personnel? Trust me, hypocrites are at work in every occupation, including your occupation or business as well, no more, no less than in the church. Every subset of humanity is tainted with imperfection.
“But shouldn’t it be different in the Church?! After all, those people claim to live a ‘higher moral’ lifestyle.” I am a hypocrite. I rationalize sometimes. I confess. I don’t follow through, it is true. And I know that I am in good company.
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:14-20, “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.”
This is the picture of a man at war with himself. Even someone like Paul battled hypocrisy. Does that make hypocrisy right? No. Certainly not, and I am trying to do better. People attending church, hopefully are trying to do better as well. And yet we fail. But does that justify a person not worshipping God in church? Would you refuse to attend a church in town if Paul were attending the same one? Are you ready to say to God, “Hey, God. I didn’t go fellowship at church. Those people bugged me. So, I didn’t go for the last 25 years.” Do you think God is cool with that?
May I even be so bold as to suggest that a hypocrite has infiltrated the ranks of your own dwelling or business as well, but we would still love to have you come and join us.
Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us to not forsake the assembly of the saints. I know we are not “all that and a bag of chips,” but could I invite you to come and be a part of the fellowship of Christ’s church? We need everyone on the team back in the game. That means you too!