Christian Living

The H-Word: Hypocrisy

Many people (subconsciously) consider perfection to be the opposite of hypocrisy. In other words, if you are imperfect, you are a hypocrite. For example, someone once told me that she felt guilty about going to church on Sunday because she had been partying Saturday night and didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite. Others would be singing and praising God, while she would feel miserable (possibly a partial result of a hangover?), so church wouldn’t be worth it. I could understand that viewpoint. I remember as a youth, there were times when I felt far from God because of my sin that I couldn’t lift my hands or sing loud, because I didn’t deserve to praise God.

But as I grew in maturity, I realized that that was actually a hypocritical type of worship. In this paradigm, I have “proved” myself worthy to God to be able to approach his throne. But the truth is, I can never prove myself worthy! The author of Hebrews says that it is by Jesus’ work that we can come before the throne of grace (Heb 4:15-16). Rather, the proper attitude for worshipping God is to admit your sinfulness and brokenness and need for Jesus to be your Savior, even if you’ve been saved for decades. Hypocrisy, at least from what Jesus taught, is the attitude of self-sufficiency, the belief that I can–and must–achieve perfection before I can come before God. If that’s the case, why in the world would we need God? What more can He do for us? Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). He also said, “Let him who thirsts come to me and drink!” (John 7:37).

If you’ve quenched your own thirst by your own religiosity and legalism, why would you need Jesus? Instead, come to him broken-hearted, needy, small, frail, and confess him as your Lord and Savior. And allow his effectual grace to transform your life in powerful ways you could never even begin to imagine. That is the opposite of hypocrisy.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). Worship God this weekend by confessing your frailty and weakness, and allow his mercy and grace to help you be who he has already declared you to be.

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