Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hypocrisy.....It's Not Just for Christians

Just returned from early Mass and as I was leaving, a conversation I overheard the other day was playing in my head. It was a conversation I have heard lots of times. I have no idea who these two individuals were but they were talking about Christians and hypocrisy. "How can she call herself a Christian and be such a hypocrite?" was the first comment. Of course it was followed by her friend saying, "That is just typical Christian BS. They talk like they are superior and then they act like that." The whole conversation makes me sad because it is a sentiment shared by many and in light of full disclosure, even I myself have felt like this a time or two about individuals I have known. It wasn't until very recently though, that I realized it is easy to miss the big picture.

Hypocrisy is not a trait restricted to only Christians, but whether admitted or not, it appears that Christians in society get held to a higher standard than say an atheist or Muslim. Hypocrisy however, is a trait shared by all humans and not just Christians. I would venture to say that there is not a human alive above the age of 10 who has not at one point or another been a hypocrite. Religion and Christianity have nothing to do with it. I will ask though, are Christians hypocrites because they are Christian or are they Christians because they are hypocrites? Before you answer that....think about a few things.

Christians are NOT perfect humans. We are merely humans just like everyone else. The only difference is that by choosing Christianity we are saying that we know just how imperfect we are and that we really want to do better. As Christians we are a constant work in progress with a desire to achieve the best spiritually and physically for the greater glory of God. That doesn't mean that everything we do shows it, it just simply means we are trying. It is kind of like a person who is overweight that wants to lose weight. Of course their game plan is to workout, eat healthy and in the end be healthy, but there are many times during that journey that you might catch them not living up to what they should be doing. It doesn't mean their goals have changed or that they want to be thin and healthy any less, it just means they are human and have stumbled. Christianity is the same.

As Christians we know what the end game is....HEAVEN. We also know that the only way to achieve that is to live a life as close to Christlike as possible. This includes loving one other, taking care of those less fortunate, following the Ten Commandments and yes....not being hypocritical. However, the human part of us stumbles, sometimes daily and don't get me wrong, professing to be a certain way in a crowd and acting completely opposite of that in private is in fact hypocritical, but as I is not a product of being a is a product of being human.

On the heels of saying that, let me also ask...why just Christians? Christians get the brunt of society's haters. Why are Christians the singled out sect? Why are atheist, pagans, Muslims, etc not held to such a high standard as Christians seem to be? They are just as devoted to their beliefs (or non beliefs) as Christians and they can also be just as hypocritical and yet I have never heard someone say, "That is what is wrong with atheists. They are all a bunch of hypocrites." I know some atheists pretty darn well and their lack of belief in God does not equal a lack of hypocritical words and actions.

Now back to my original question....are Christians hypocrites because they are Christian or are they Christians because they are hypocrites? I would say that the latter applies. Christians can be hypocrites, liars and sinners in general. We sometimes speak out of turn, are hateful, judgmental and cruel. We know this about ourselves and they are things we know are both wrong and we want to change. This is why we turn to God. We ask Him to help us be the best parents/children/siblings/friends/humans/Christians we can be. Sometimes we live up to our faith and sometimes we fall, ask for forgiveness and have to start all over again. We are all works in progress taking baby steps in order to find our way. Sadly though, if society catches us not living up to our faith, Christianity as a whole is branded for our human behavior. The whole being judged for the few. It hardly seems fair.

So now if you are reading this and are a Christian, next time you start to talk about someone negatively, judge someone or act in an unChristian way think how others maybe viewing you and ultimately your faith in general. Are you representing your faith well and acting in a Christlike manner or are you stooping to the level of a petty hypocritical human. Is that really how Jesus would do it?  And if you mark "other" when it comes to religion then please stop and think next time you stand in judgement of a person who calls themself Christian. Your lack of faith does not make you superior nor does it give you the right to stand in judgement of another human. Faithful or not, we are all flesh and blood and we all have flaws and before passing judgement on anyone, it might do us all well to keep that in mind. Remember, hypocrisy..... it's not just for Christians!


Anonymous said...

Christians do take a lot of hate from society. I do know that some do not set a Christian example by their words or actions but I agree that they are in most cases trying. You are correct when you say that hypocrisy is not just for Christians. The world is running rampant with it and many who are the biggest offenders are anything but Christian. Nice blog.

Anonymous said...

You make a good point that Christians are not perfect. They are only striving to be better which means they can stumble and fall. Good blog.