The Case Against Hypocrisy

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27 KJV).

This Bible verse is often used to support arguments that not only was the church full of hypocrites in Christ’s time but still is in the Christian church despite all our protests to the contrary. We hear this as an excuse for avoiding organized religion altogether too much to totally ignore it. But what are our arguments in the church’s defense?

As long as the church is held to the gold standard of perfection these outsiders expect, it will always come up shy this side of heaven. The church, for better or worse, is made up of people, everyday run of the mill people whose primary difference from these naysayers is that in Christ they have glimpsed what it means to be saintly and believe in His power to transform them in His likeness.

As such the church is a knitting together of imperfect people with perfect aspirations. True we will stumble and falter, we will make mistakes, yes we will sin, but in the church at its best, we will find solace and the support of like-minded people who will be there for us, lifting us up in prayer, encouraging us to stay the course. 

The church is more as a whole than the sum of its individual parts, due in no small measure to Christ’s contribution to the mix. To avoid church because we feel it is comprised of hypocrites is to fail to take into account that we are all works in progress. The fellow next to you in the pew is, the deacon is, even the preacher is---there is no escaping the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. “ (Romans 3:23 NKJV).

Surely at the heart of our critics’ complaints is the notion many of us put on our Sunday faces with our Sunday bests, only to discard our best efforts when we are back on the street. We leave the impression we do not bear witness by living by what we profess to believe. In this respect we could all do a better job, with God’s help of seeing to it our outer man reflects our inner beliefs.

Blessed Jesus, We pray that you will steer us towards having our lives accurately reflect our beliefs. Amen

Carol (NC)