The definition of a hypocrite is: "1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; 2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings."
I often feel as though I am a hypocrite at times. Actually, I think we all have been, are, or will be at one point or another in our life, Christian or not. That's human. What I am realizing more and more is that Christian does not equal perfect. A lot of people associate with Christians certain tendencies, and when a person who professes to be a Christian does something out of perfection automatically they are sometimes called a hypocrite. I know, I used to call Christians (before becoming one) hypocrites. I have even called myself one since becoming a Christian.
However, since coming back to Christ in September 2004, I have realized that Jesus will forever be perfecting me until He comes again or I die. In Romans 12:2 it says "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will."
Often when I read in Galatians 5:22 about the fruits of the Spirit, which are: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, and then I read the acts of the sinful nature in verses 19-21: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkeness, orgies and the like — I realize that I still have a long ways to go. The part of Gal 5:19-21 that puts a healthy fear in me, however, is the part that says "I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."
You see, the thing is, we all sin, we all fall short of the glory of God – Christian or not. The difference is that being a Christian I have a Savior — Who is Jesus Christ because I have done as Roman 10:9-10 says — and that is to confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and I believe that God raised Him from the dead, and if I do this, the Bible says that I will be saved. Now that is good news to me!
Even better news is that once I became a Christian and found myself struggling with sin or sinning, I read in 1 John 1:8-10 that "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He (Jesus Christ) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives." Now that is good news too!
It's funny how we often associate sin as being those things that are obvious — such as getting drunk or having sex outside of marriage, and so when we see another Christian doing this we point our finger at them as we gossip to our friend about it. Hint here, gossip is a sin. Oh, we may tell ourselves, we're confiding in another friend about the other friend so that we can "pray" for them, or "help" them. We preface by saying "I don't mean to gossip, but …" I like it how we justify it in our minds how gossip is okay, but that these other sins are not.
And no, we should not purposefully go out and do something we know we should not do, I'm not saying that at all. However, me personally, I struggle with envy at times. I was envious today in fact. I can have a moment of jealousy — I did today, but if you will notice, jealous and envy are both listed right along with those other sins we deem as worse than what we think we are doing.
Good grief. Here's the thing, before you go and call someone else a hypocrite, or call yourself one, just realize we all do things that we shouldn't do. Just when the Lord points it out to you, stop doing it. What I realized when I was doing Celebrate Recovery (which is not just for alcohol and drugs by the way) is that when the Lord pointed out something I was doing that was wrong, I would ask for His help, ask for forgiveness, and them almost immediately do it again. BUT, what I found out though is that the times in between when I would sin and the next time would get farther and farther apart until it was almost non-existent because as soon as I would do it, I would repent and start over. That's how good our God is! That is grace, BUT that grace should not be abused because again it takes me back to the scripture that "those who partake in these things (the sinful things) will not share in the Kingdom of God." This instills in me a healthy fear to do my absolute best each and every day. Some days just are harder than others.
I don't know if this is just for me, or for anyone else, but it has helped me to write it down and read it. It's been rolling around in my mind for some time. If you read it, thanks for listening to me ramble. Happy New Year.