Hypocrite…One who professes or claims certain characteristics, traits, or beliefs, but does NOT live, behave, possess, or demonstrate such mannerisms or beliefs as claimed.
The word, hypocrite, is often used within the realms of church-goers to describe a person who “claims” to be a Christian who follows the teachings of Christ Jesus as outlined in the Bible, but in actuality lives a very “Christ-opposed,” or opposite life-style from Biblical principles and teachings.
Another definition for a “hypocrite” is simply, “An actor or actress PRETENDING to be someone they are not; playing a role.”
Whichever definition best describes the term, hypocrite, one fundamental truth is definite…Don’t ever underestimate The Power of the Hypocrite and the negative influence(s) they can have on another person’s life or the body of true believers and followers of Christ.
Recently, my husband and I spent a significant amount of time counseling with a man regarding his reason for not submitting his life to Christ and the principles of Christian living. Over, and over, and over, this person continued to return to his main defense for not submitting his life to Christ….Hypocrites… People, down through the years, who professed they knew Jesus as their personal Savior and even attended church but lead dangerously sinful lives on their jobs and in the front of non-church goers. In other words, they lived like a saint on Sunday and like the Devil Monday through Saturday.
Oh, how Satan loves to use this tactic to help build his case against becoming an authentic servant of the Lord’s. It finally became apparent that this particular person was engulfed in a strong-hold against submitting his life to Christ and felt quite justified in his decision due to “all the hypocrites” he had worked with over the many years.
Truthfully, in some ways you understand what the guy is talking about. How many of us have not been disappointed and discouraged by another person claiming to live a particular, separated, life unto Christ to only find out they are deeply engaged in all kinds of Bible-related sinful activities, such as stealing, lying, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, abuse, murder, drugs, excessive alcohol (even though both my husband and I personally prefer to abstain from any form of alcohol), and a whole lists of other harmful and wrong acts of crime or violence. As the Bible states…We, ALL, fall short of the Glory of God…there is none righteous…no, not one. Yet, we should strive to live our lives unto Christ on a day by day basis; both within and without.
When such ungodly acts are carried out in the lives of people we know and once trusted, it can quite often shake our faith somewhat in the system; so to speak. But, I want to share something that took place in my own life over thirty-five years ago.
Some of you know, that while I was expecting my first babies (twins), I dedicated my life to the Lord. They turned thirty-six this past July, and GOD has always been faithful. It was during my second pregnancy that God used a terrible situation in our church to show me a very valuable, sustaining, and life-long lesson.
Mind you, there are only seventeen and one-half months between our twin- daughters and our youngest daughter. Before the twins were born, my husband and I joined a local church, and I had become somewhat active in Sunday school, teaching Vacation Bible School, and singing in the choir. At the time, I was a very happy twenty-one year old wife and mother who was about to give birth to my third child.
On the day of our second daughter’s birth, as it is accustomed in the area where we live, our pastor came to the hospital to see our new baby and to congratulate us on her arrival. However, when our pastor entered the room, I noticed that he didn’t have his usual warm smile on his face. Actually, he was barely looking up from the floor. He pulled up a chair very close to my bedside and told me he had stopped by the nursery (We didn’t have birthing rooms in those days!) to see our new baby girl and she was beautiful, and he was very happy for us.
Then, he turned rather serious and told me that he had something to tell me. He informed me that over the next several days, weeks, and months, I would be hearing all kinds of stories about him; some true, some lies, some made-up, and some exaggerated. He told me to NOT let this shake my faith. He knew that I was a young mother who was wishing to learn more about the Lord and to serve Him well. He then told me the saddest news. He told me that he was resigning the church. I was shocked. He told me that he could not go into details with me about the situation but to just remember what he had told me.
He then asked if he could have prayer with me before he left. We both bowed our heads and he prayed one of the sweetest prayers of protection over me and my family and for our faith to continue to grow.
When my husband arrived at the hospital a little later, I shared with him what had taken place. He, too, was sad. We both truly loved our pastor and we knew that with his leaving the church that things would not ever be the same.
I went home that afternoon. Two weeks later, my husband and I drove our twins and our new little bundle of joy to church. Immediately, we could sense something was wrong. As we entered the church there was a coldness that had not been present before. People who were usually up walking around greeting others were sitting silently in their pews not engaging in any type of conversation.
The choir members were not in their places in the choir, but rather sitting throughout the church with their families. It was actually eerie. Instead of the usual service, our Pastor stood and walked to the pulpit area where he announced that this would be his last service. He would not preach that morning, but instead hand the services over to the deacon in charge. He stepped down, took his wife by the hand, and walked out the back door.
I was devastated in more ways than one. Usually, when new babies came into the church they were recognized and celebrated. I held my new little baby in my arms with tears streaming down my face as our pastor walked out the door. The deacon asked for the “elders” to meet around the altar for prayer and then the church would be dismissed. Services that night would be conducted by the interim pastor that had been called earlier in the week.
We left and drove home. What should have been a wonderful time in our lives of celebration was hampered and overshadowed by whatever it was going on in our church.
Early the next morning I received a telephone call from one of the deacon’s wives. She wanted to apologize for our little daughter not being recognized, and she commented on how sad the service had been. Then, she went on to share with me what had happened. It seemed that some families in the church had brought ALLEGED charges of infidelity against our Pastor. The entire matter had split the church in half; and the events that would happen over the next several weeks were practically unimaginable.
When I finished the telephone call, I went to the nursery and picked up my little girl and knelt down beside the rocking chair. I don’t know that I had ever cried so hard and for so long over such a matter in my entire life. I was crushed and devastated that so many people to whom I trusted and held confidence were now behaving worse than any lost, unchurced, person I knew.
Somewhere in the midst of my tears and heart-pouring prayer to God, a voice (God’s voice) spoke to my heart as plainly as I am typing this blog to you now. He said, “Linda, do not put your eyes on man. Put your eyes on Me and follow me for I am the only one that Satan cannot tempt and cause to fall.”
As those words were sounding in my heart and mind, my tears just stopped and my entire demeanor changed. I was suddenly filled with Hope and Joy. I got up from my knees and rocked my little girl while Praising God for His mercy and grace.
Today, that same little girl is a Pastor’s wife herself. Her dad and I taught both her and her sisters to put their trust, faith, and eyes ONLY upon God, because anyone else could, and often would…let them down. Many, many times my husband preached from the pulpit that man, any man, can fall and let you down…but God never will.
Sadly, so many people, like the man we counseled, have their eyes on the wrong source. To believe in God, to know God, to be a witness for God…you must look higher than your current environment…You must first look BACK at the Cross and by faith to see a suffering, dying Savior for our sins. Then, you must look UP to a risen Savior for redemption and salvation….Then, you must look FORWARD to one day seeing face to face the ONLY ONE who has never sinned or fallen short of the Glory of God, Jesus Christ.
Oh, yes, hypocrites and those who have fallen over and over in their testimonies have a huge impact on those who are struggling between the choice of life and death; to receive or reject God’s mercies found in Christ Jesus. Don’t ever underestimate the Power of the Hypocrite for in their lives are found the souls of innocent men, women, boys, and girls who “use” them as an excuse to “reject” Christ…. God, help us all.
Today, you might be discouraged by the acts of someone you once revered and held in high esteeem…Let it go…move on…and rejoice in the fact that there is only ONE who is above Satan’s snares.
You also might be the “one” who is living one way on Sunday and another way during the week. Please know that you are hurting the lives of those who are watching you. No man is an island unto himself…we all interact in one form or another. Our lives and our choices do influence and impact others. “Live” who you say you are.
I ask that you help me to pray about the man we counseled. Pray that God will open his own eyes and allow him to forgive those who have sinned so badly in front of him all of these years; yet, stood in a choir somewhere and sang, “Oh, How I Love Jesus” with the voice like an angel. God, have mercy. Pray, he will submit his own life unto Jesus and stop using “The Power of the Hypocrite” to defend his own sinful choices. He needs Christ, and so does his entire family.
There may be others that you know who are using this same “excuse” to support their ungodly choices; if so…pray that their blindness will be lifted in Christ. “Greater is He (Jesus) who is within..than he (Satan) who is in the world.”
Thank you for your prayers. I know God is working in this person’s life.
Remember, God Loves You,
Lin T. Rollins, Author