Yesterday I blogged about the term hypocrite and how it was Jesus who took a word used simply to describe actors on a stage and used it as a stinging rebuke against the religious leaders of His day. But is it really that big of a deal?
It is critical for both those inside the church and those outside the church.
To those inside the church Jesus said…
“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” ~ Matthew 5:20
We are saved by grace, but that is no excuse for living as we please. We are children of God and if our outward behavior doesn’t match up with what we profess to believe about Jesus being our Savior and Lord, then we won’t get to experience heaven. That’s about as serious as it gets!
But this issue of hypocrisy is also critical to those outside the church. A book entitled Unchristian written a few years ago is based on a research study that shows eighty-five percent of unchurched young adults believe Christians to be hypocritical. Eighty-five percent say Christians say one thing, do something else.
Wow! Even if you allow for some misperceptions and drop those percentages by 10 percent you’re still looking at some staggering numbers. No wonder more people aren’t attracted to God’s church.
I’m convinced that part of what attracted people to Jesus was the fact that how He lived matched up with what He taught. A person who lives with that kind of authenticity is not only rare but very appealing.
We have to give ourselves to living more authentically. Not only because we don’t want to miss out on experiencing heaven, but because we don’t want to discourage others who don’t yet have a relationship with God.