When Church Goes Wrong

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“Churches are full of nothing but hypocrites.” — Quote attributed to many

Hypocrite — a word that is used to describe somebody who is not real. Is often associated with a sneer or turning up of the lip when speaking of a particular individual that is in question.

For example, the word has seen an uptick in usage over the last few years particularly as it applies to people in politics or in religion.

The word hypocrite actually stems from the Greek word ὑποκριτής or hupokrites. The word is used approximately 20 times in the New Testament Scriptures including several times by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The origin of the word referred to a person who was an actor or a stage player of which Greek and Romans were quite fond. The actor or stage player would represent or pretend to be something or someone that he was not in real life. The actor would often wear or hold a mask in front of his or her face when playing the false part.

When an ancient Greek or Roman then heard an individual called a hypocrite, they would immediately recognize that the person in question was an actor or they were considered to two-faced.

church on lake

The Reality

EVERY person can be a hypocrite to some degree or another. For example, have you ever gone to work, church, or the store and met up with somebody who is but an acquaintance? The other person then asks, “Oh hi, how are you today?”

They may not really have any interest in you but are simply being polite. If this is the case, then they are being a hypocrite or two-faced.

In return, you force a smile, despite the fact that life is a struggle and you may be under the weather, and respond, “Fine, doing just fine.” Sadly, you have once again become a hypocrite or two-faced towards another human being.

Why is this important to learn and understand?

Very simple — Churches are often made up of people who are hurting JUST like you. They want to be REAL but have been told by society and culture that you don’t express your feelings to people who are not close to you. A church is like an island in a vast lake providing sanctuary from the storms of life.

Asone who served as a pastor and as an overseas missionary church planter, I have seen a lot of hypocrites. In fact, I have even played the part of an actor at times myself. It is not something I am proud of, nor is this confession a means to make light of how I have responded to others.

Is it true that there are churches that are not worth the time of day?

Yes, bad theology and a lack of true love for others mean some that classify themselves as a “church” should be studiously avoided because they are dangerous.

However, for a person to avoid church with the excuse that it is only full of hypocrites is nothing more than an excuse. It reveals the truth that you have not faced up to the reality that you and I are also hypocrites when things don’t go our way.

If the church is going to be avoided, then do yourself and others a favor and tell the real reason, not lame excuses. Using lame excuses simply places you in the same camp as the people you claim to be avoiding.

There are bad apples in EVERY aspect of life. There are hypocrites in EVERY workplace. There are hypocrites in EVERY church.

The question you should be asking is this –

If every church member were just like me, then what kind of church would my church be?

In other words, you can and should have a role to play wherever you and your family choose to attend. There are hundreds of millions around the world who are in a much tougher situation than you and I are or will ever be in.

It should not matter what you wear, how much you make, or the kind of car you drive. The true church should be a reflection of the glory that will be seen in heaven when it is ALL about Jesus Christ.

Church should be an opportunity to be real, to be genuine, to be honest, and where we are willing to love and serve others because that is what Christ calls all true Christians to do.

To do otherwise makes you and me nothing more than a hypocrite.