Real or Fraud

Hypocrisy is one of the nastiest words thrown at Christians. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most accurate as well.  Add to that, the seeming inability to admit to said hypocrisy and you get a double whammy with it. We’re not just hypocrites with strangers, non-Christians, or even in the church.  No, we’re hypocrites even within our own hearts.  It’s disgusting.

Picture a room–a semi-circle of chairs with anxious-looking people, unwilling to meet one anothers’ eyes.  One woman squirms before standing and shuffling to the front of the room.  Her eyes seem to look anywhere but at the eyes now staring at her.  She frowns and wills herself to meet the gaze of the others.  Clearing her throat, she speaks.

“Hello, I’m Chautona.  I’m a hypocrite.  It’s been…” she glances at her watch, “fourteen seconds since I last failed in my attempt to eradicate hypocrisy from my life.”

You think fourteen seconds was harsh?  Let me tell you something.  Chautona expects others to admit to their failings instead of trying to justify them.  She was doing it in her heart.  That’s just as wrong as verbally.  Chautona also expects people to look her in the eye when speaking to her– at least some of the time.  She didn’t want to and tried not to.  Chautona is a hypocrite.  Yes, I am a hypocrite.  I hate it.  I feel like the Apostle Paul.  I don’t do what I should do, I do what I don’t want to do, wretched woman that I am…

But I’m not wretched.  Not really.  I’ve got Jesus.  I’m cleansed.  That double-standard I hold that I don’t even realize yet– it’s already been nailed to the cross and forgiven.  That’s so amazing!  He washed me clean.  CLEAN.  It’s done.

None of this is news to anyone though, is it?  I mean, the funny thing is–ironic really– is that I’ve never pretended that I wasn’t a hypocrite!  How stupid is that?  But… it’s true.  Sad and sorry, but it’s true.

See, I’m a fraud.  Hurts to admit it by the way.

The alternative, I’ve been told, is to be “real.”  I agree.  Let’s be real.  I can go there.  Isn’t that what I’m doing here?  Being real?  Confessing my faults “one to another” as James tells me to?

Wanna know what real isn’t to me?  Real isn’t making others endure my sinfulness.  Real isn’t saying, “I know that my smoking puts your life at risk.  Tuff.  It’s who I am.  I’m being real.”  Real is when I say, “I care enough about my friend that I’ll shower, change my clothes, and walk down the street to visit you so that I don’t put your health at risk.  That’s not fake.  That’s not hypocrisy!  That’s REAL love for you.

If I visit a friend whose husband finds purple tops too provocative to endure, I’m not going to wear a purple top– even if I wear one every other day of the week.  I’m not going to do it because it’s courteous.  It’s loving my brother in Christ!  For heaven’s sake!  We have enough that we’re hypocrites about without letting our Christian liberty trample our brothers and sisters in the process.  I can drink alcohol with a 100% clear conscience.  I “never” do (can probably count on one hand since I moved out of my parents house).  Why don’t I?  Well, lots of reasons, concern that I might learn to like it too much being a major one, but the biggest is that my husband doesn’t like it.  He doesn’t like it in the house.  He doesn’t like it near his spouse.  😉  I love him.  He knows I don’t have a problem with drinking it–heck!  He doesn’t have a problem with anyone drinking it.  He just doesn’t like the stuff and I love him.  I’m not going to drink it if it is something he’d rather wasn’t here!  So, we’ve got our medicinal bottle of Jack Daniels, and I do not pour it in my Coke.  That doesn’t make me a hypocrite.  That doesn’t mean I’m not real.  That means I AM REAL.  I am REALly loving my husband by keeping the alcohol consumption out of here.

Since when did our being “real” mean that we have to make the rest of the world–our Christian brothers and sisters–have to endure things that violate their conscience.  Why is it that one brother can feel comfortable watching a violent movie and because he does, his friend with a more tender conscience can either suck it up and deal with it or go home?  Why must it be THAT movie when the friend is around.  Is a movie really more important than a man Jesus died for? So what if the brother is wrong and it’s ok to watch this movie.  Let’s assume it’s like meat offered to idols.  Paul said DON’T SERVE IT TO THE WEAKER BROTHER.  Paul didn’t say tell the weaker brother to eat up, don’t look, or go away.

We’re all frauds–hypocrites.  We are.  It’s not just in the church.  The world is full of frauds both Christians and non-Christians.  But if our “real” selves trample our brothers and sisters in Christ with our “reality,” what does that say about what we’re doing to people that Jesus was tortured, beaten, and murdered for?  It’s still “real” if you yield to serve a brother in Christ.  You don’t have to lie and pretend you don’t usually eat that meat offered to idols, drink that beer, listen to that musician, watch that movie, use that language, whatever the issue is.  You don’t have to lie!  You can be real and still show love for the person who isn’t comfortable with those things.  That’s real too.  It’s real and RIGHT.

The fraud is the person who says that they serve and follow Christ and hold onto their own rights so tight that they trample people that Jesus said to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;”  (Rom 12:10).

Kill THAT hypocrisy.  I dare you.