That’s right. I said it, and I mean it. I am a hypocrite. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is, and while it’s not something I’m proud to say, I truly believe it’s something I need to say. I hope this inspires others to also let go of their insecurities and “Confess their trespasses to one another, pray for one another, and be healed, (because) the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Let’s start with an obvious statement that must be said – no Christian sets out to be a hypocrite. In fact, most of us wake up with the very simple goal of being faithful every single day. I’m not sure there’s a verbal acknowledgement of that goal, but there’s certainly a hidden drive to do better or be better.
The real problem lies in our definition of faithful. Far too often, we equate that idea to perfection. That’s our first mistake and ultimately a debilitating one because we know it’s impossible to be sinless, even though we try. That misguided definition crushes us when we fail or give in to temptation. It sets an impossible goal just beyond our reach and if we’re not careful, separates us from the reality of our own salvation and God’s grace.
Too many Christians (myself included) are really good at hiding our sin from others so our reputation remains spotless even when our conscience is seared. It doesn’t matter what we’re hiding, hiding it is dangerous, maybe even deadly. If you happen to add a healthy mix of shame and sorrow to the guilt that accompanies that sin you find a situation that can easily turn ugly fast.
Thankfully, with a mixture of repentance and forgiveness, you can wash that shame and guilt away with a genuine trust in God and the blood of Christ. After God does His part, and you come to terms with your own weakness, a pattern can develop to give you a clean conscience before God.
I am a sinner, but I’m saved by God’s grace. I am a hypocrite, but I’m trying each day not to be. I am wrong, but in my weakness I see how great is My God.
There’s a ton of Scripture to help us understand this but ultimately, I believe these three really stick out:
Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
How thankful can we be that God Himself “groans” on our behalf when the struggle we face is more than expected? That “groaning or sighing” comes from the Greek word stenagmos which is only found one other place in the New Testament (Acts 7:34). There it is used to describe the “groaning” of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt that God heard before sending Moses to free them. I can’t help but make the connection that the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf because He feels our pain, knows our sorrows, and understands our weakness.
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
There are passages galore that point us to God and His strength. In fact, four different verses in the Old Testament (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 28:7, 118:14, and Isaiah 12:2) emphatically say “The Lord is my strength.” Not many Christians will argue that God is weak, but many do forget how strong He truly can be right now at this very moment. We do that because it’s easy to see God from a distance, on His Holy Mountain, to busy or even occupied to worry about my needs. When we do that, we unfortunately rely on our own strength and far too often fail miserably. That’s why I personally love this passage because it points out first that “even though I fail, God is still strong.” At my lowest, in my weakest, and on those days when my hypocrisy abounds, it’s reassuring to remember “when I am weak, He is strong.”
First Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
The idea that resonates most in this passage is the phrase “in due time.” I must admit that I’m not a very patient person. I often find myself wondering when will God get to work. When will His timing match up to my timing? The humility it takes to wait on God is not always something I possess, however, the more I cast my concerns on Him (see Proverbs 3:5), the more I let go, the more trust, the more I actually see His care for me.
Right now, more than any time in my life, I’m thankful for Isaiah 64:8 which says, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.”
I’m not thankful to be a hypocrite and I wish no one had ever thought of me as one. Since I can’t change that, I’ll work every day to be better than I was yesterday. Some days I’ll fail at that goal and some days I’ll be better. No matter the outcome, every single day I’ll be grateful to be an unformed lump of clay. I’ll be satisfied with what I am and content with what I’m not yet. I’ll be grateful that my Heavenly Father isn’t done making me over and thankful my sins are forgiven.
I am a hypocrite but my life is not defined by that imperfection, it is defined by God’s perfection working on me.