PART 1 - ON THE OUTSIDEA hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs. He or she can also be someone who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, orstatements belie his or her public statements.*
A charge commonly made against us Christians is that we are a bunch of hypocrites! In fact, this is the excuse given by secularists and humanists as to why they - the atheist - do not go to church or are not a child of God. Of course, they do not see the light poles sticking out of their own eyes.
Billy Graham has a good question for those who blame a lack of any relationship with the one true God of heaven on those of us whom the world accuses of hypocrisy. He said "if you got a bad glass of milk one time, would you quit drinking milk?" Or to paraphrase, if you get a cheap gallon of gas at a QuickMart gas station and it evaporates quickly, would you stop going to any filling station forever? No you won't, or you would not be able to drive anywhere.
The world looks at the sensational headlines or some perverted, greasy, money-grubbing individual behind a pulpit with a bible and willfully associates us with that prosperity gospel from hell. I can't tell you the amount of times I have to defend the Bible or my own beliefs in Christ against unbelieving co-workers. These people use the any example of religious double-speak; womanizing or some rich preacher with an arrogant attitude to paint EVERY Christian as one of those.
Sometimes, it does not have to be a national religious figure who falls in disgrace like Ted Haggard or Bishop Eddie Long, but some who accuse us of hypocrisy, are more up to speed on some local pastor in town who owns two spanking new Cadillacs and goes on cruises every winter with his family, while he or his church are never seen downtown, showing any compassion for the homeless and/or hurting. They look at him on local TV with the fancy glittering stage and rock band, hawking books while talking about "the Love of Jesus" and wonder "what planet is this guy even on?"
Whether these local churches actually have great outreach ministries or not (usually they do), is not the question. The perception is one of "these churches only want my money".
Therefore, Father in the Name of Jesus, You are not tolerant of those who profess and call on Your Name in Public, but whose father is the god of this world - the devil. The Lord Jesus called out the pharisees in Matthew 23:15 when He said "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves."
Lord God, this is the state of most of us in the modern church who could not stand the scrutiny of the Light of day, but who will be accountable on the Day of Judgment here on earth. We are the modern day copies of those pharisees.
Lord we confess our sins as a body of Christ for all the lost of this world we have turned away, because we have not functioned as You expected we would or as You laid out in Your Holy Word. For this sin, we seek and beg Your forgiveness.
Lord, we confess ours sins for each time we have held large public events and proclaimed the Name of Jesus and God, yet live like the devil the rest of the week. For this sin, we seek and beg Your forgiveness.
Lord, we confess our sins for every missed opportunity we let slip to be the good Samaritan to a homeless person with sign, and looked down our noses at them. We could have well failed a test and disrespected an angel from heaven by our foolish self-righteousness! For this sin, we seek and beg Your forgiveness.
Lord we confess our sins for the countless times we 'felt sad' as a church when our poor neighbor's ministry or building just up the county burned down....and all we did was say we would "pray for them"...and then never do pray or lift a finger to help or donate a penny to help that brother or sister out of a jam! For this sin, we seek and beg Your forgiveness.
Lord I personally repent for being part of any body or organization, which has committed all these shortcomings and sinned before You, as the church. Lord, no one is pure in this regard.
I repent personally as a former church and now a ministry leader, for missing both the forest and trees because I was too busy to see Your Hand at work. Forgive me oh God. Search me and correct my thinking so that no matter what the lost and evil world may say, at least in this corner of Your Kingdom, we will not be found wanting and being hypocrites on the Outside, when called to account, in That Day...in Jesus' Name, amen
TOMORROW: PART 2 (ARE YOU A HYPOCRITE?) - ON THE INSIDE
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