Written by Brandon G. Harris
How many of us have heard someone say: “I would go to church, but it’s full of hypocrites.” The Sunday school response to this statement is, “Even hypocrites need Jesus.” I have regrettably believed for years that the largest deterrent to the Christian faith among lost people today is Christians themselves. While the Sunday school answer is correct, it’s hard to accept as anything more than a cop-out. By allowing this cliché response to exit our mouths, I believe we accept our own hypocrisy as something that is comically permissible.
It’s not just the lost who are affected by the hypocrisy of Christians. It is also fellow Christians; I was one of them. Several years ago, when I was nineteen years old, I had a burning desire to serve the Lord. I wasn’t sure in what capacity or to what extent. I was living in a small town near the border of Kentucky and Tennessee.
My father was the children’s minister at one of the larger churches in the area. I saw this as an opportunity to take my passion for youth ministry and really try to make an impact. There was already a youth minister, so I just wanted to lend a hand where ever I could. My intentions were always good, and I felt like I was connecting with those kids. For some reason my reputation as the young, aspiring youth minister and the children’s minister’s son didn’t sync up, at least to the existing youth leader. I don’t know if it was his ego or some sort of unprovoked jealousy, but he proceeded to spiritually crush my ambition and pour water all over the fire that consumed me toward service.
I became the subject of countless rumors. The most vicious of which suggested that I was using my influence to seduce the young ladies of the youth group. The rumors persisted and with one passive aggressive blow after another, the fired up young man that I had once been was no more. My father also had to endure ridicule from the youth minister because of me. Since my father had more of a backbone than I, he fought hard to continue his work for God at that church. Amidst all the pressures and the “problem” I had become, he still managed to build the most successful children’s ministry that church had ever seen.
I caved in. I resolved myself to the mindset that, “If they’re going to talk about me, then I’ll give them something to talk about.” I laid down my passion for ministry and sought out the company of non-Christians. Thus began my years of rebellion…
I told that story to make this point. There are, without a doubt, hypocrites in the church; some of them are even the “leaders.” Even though the reason behind this hypocrisy is debatable, the fact of the matter is… it’s destructive and not the least bit funny.
I write to you today as a man who is better and stronger because of the pain and ridicule he’s experienced. Unfortunately there are more people that have been burned by “HypoChristians” that cannot say the same. Some people will never know the victory of salvation or the hope of restoration because of Christians. This is a tragic disappointment to God. If you are part of this travesty, fix it! If you know someone with a story like mine, love them the way Jesus asked you to. Let’s exchange hypocrisy for humility and ask God to lead us once again.