There is so much hypocrisy. How should/can the church respond to this in others and be aware of it in ourselves?
It really seems that as followers of Christ, we should be better. After all, Jesus spends a fair amount of energy calling out hypocrisy. But of course, even at church we see people whose actions contradict their professed beliefs. And that can be both disheartening, and downright aggravating. Jesus calls to be better, and to do better. But human beings are imperfect, and even the most educated Christians sometimes fall short. Here are a few ways to respond when we see see hypocrisy in the church:
- Practice Humility: When I see someone (or several someones) in the church being hypocritical, I find it pretty easy to feel self-righteous and judgmental. But we should remember that each and every one of us does things that don’t match our ideal selves sometimes. None of us is perfect all the time.
- Gently hold everyone accountable: Just because all of us are inconsistent in our values doesn’t mean that it’s OK. When we see hypocrisy, it’s okay to hold folks responsible for their words and their actions. Whether it’s in the church, in our friend group, or in the public square, it’s appropriate to criticize that behavior.
- Practice Forgiveness: Hypocrisy can breed bitterness and resentment within our hearts. But just as Christ forgiven us for much, He asks us to do the same for others. Remember that hypocrites are also on a journey of faith, and they too struggle with their imperfections, and divided loyalties.
- Set an Example: One sure way to reduce hypocrisy in the church is to avoid doing it yourself. Like I said above, we all struggle with being hypocrites sometimes. Understanding just how often we’re guilty of the same thing can help us see others’ hypocrisy in a gentler light. And that awareness can help live lives more consistent with our beliefs. Actions speak louder than words, and a life marked by authenticity and integrity can inspire others to do the same.