You have women there who would much rather a man love on her than lust after her. Most would give anything to have someone treat them as a person worthy of lifelong appreciate, not as an object only good for temporary gratification.
Then there are the men, many of whom hate themselves when they go home. They wish they would stay away, but they continually “find themselves” there. Nothing of lasting value is there, they know that, but they keep getting pulled in.
|Photo from PlantedIn.com|
This post, along with the one tomorrow, is written mainly for those who have left church, in part, because of the hypocrisy there. I hope you will let me be honest with you and, in turn, you will be honest with yourself.
If you are a Christian who is an active part of a church family, maybe the discussion can prove useful to you in thinking about those that you know who have left. If not, there are questions at the bottom of these posts that are directed toward us and how we are to correct the problems that those outside the church often see much clearer than us on the inside.
Just so we are clear, I do not go (and have never been) to a strip club for numerous reasons, none of which have anything to do with the hypocrisy of those there. However, I think that venue provides an appropriately shocking example of the weakness of the rationale so many people give for not going to church – hypocrites.
Are there people at church who do not live up to the values they profess? Absolutely. When you claim to follow a Man who was perfect, you are going to fall short. The truth is, however, that every group of people who gather together for any cause or event are in some ways being hypocritical. Do I even have to point out how often politicians fail to meet the standards with which they hold their opponents?
To be a lot more personal, you and I are hypocrites. Of course we are. When we make mistakes we have, not excuses, but reasons for those minor slip-ups. When others do the same, there is nothing that could possibly justify their horrible behavior.
We are all hypocrites. The church is no different. In some ways it is simply a gathering of a bunch of hypocrites in one place. In that regard, however, a football game, concert or lunch with friends is the same – hypocrites together about in the same place.
So, why is it that the hypocrites keep you away from church, but not from the strip club (extreme example) or hanging out with your friends (normal example)? Because, more than likely, in those places, you will not be asked to make sacrifices or changes to your life.
Those other venues, filled with just as many hypocrites as church, don’t require anything from you. Those hypocrites aren’t asking you to be better, while they are in need of improvement themselves. The hypocrites at non-church places let you stay just how you are, even when you are in need of improvement yourself.
Let’s be honest. Hypocrisy is not the reason you don’t go to church. Oh sure, it’s what you tell yourself (and others) is the reason, but deep down, you know that excuse doesn’t really work.
If you have ever actually been a part of a church, you know there are some good people there who do love others and try to live out the teachings of Jesus as best they can. Not everyone fits the stereotype of a hypocrite you have in your mind to justify never going back through those doors.
Hypocrisy gives you a nice sounding excuse to avoid tough questions from others and yourself. You can hide behind the missteps of others and never have to confront your own. But it’s not the truth.
When you get down to it, there are usually only two real reasons why people leave church. It is the two reasons that motivate almost all of human behavior – pain and pleasure. We’ll look at those tomorrow.
In the meantime, watch Lecrae’s video for “Church Clothes” (lyrics and an explanation of the song’s viewpoint here). In it, he speaks from the perspective of an outsider about the hypocrisy rampant in churches, particularly those from his cultural background, while cutting to deeper issues that really speak to the heart of the matter.
While the presence of hypocrisy is not a legitimate reason to stay out of church, it is still very much a problem facing every church. Christians, what can we do to correct this label? How can we encourage each other to live lives that better reflect our Savior?
Do you think part of the solution is admitting that hypocrisy is present in our lives and our churches? What can we learn from those who use hypocrisy as the reason they avoid churches and Christians in general?