By Pastor Nathan Richardson Heartland Community Church, La Porte City
Last week I wrote about the Church being viewed as legalistic. At some points in our history we have been, the Church has made great strides in this area but we still have room for growth. I also apologized if you have been judged in anyway.
This week we address the idea of hypocrisy. The Church has been viewed by some as highly hypocritical. At times the Church has made it easier for people to do so. I attended a church in college where I heard a sermon by a pastor and within a couple weeks he resigned his position due to an affair. I am sure that most of us could go on about how we have seen hypocrisy in the church.
Unfortunately a few peoples’ actions have destroyed others view of God and has damaged our faith. I believe this has happened due to the lack of authenticity people have. If Christians were open and honest about their failures I know the church would be viewed differently.
We all know that no one is perfect so trying to make someone live up to those standards is impossible. God himself does not even demand perfection, so why should we? In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This is said about a small boy named David. The same David that would go on to kill Goliath. The same David who would be king of Israel. David was far from perfect though. He had an affair with Bathsheba and went on to kill her husband Uriah.
David went on to confess his sin after he was confronted by a prophet Nathan. David goes on to write Psalm 51 which is a song of repentance. Verse 10 is the heart of this chapter where David cries out to God and asks him “Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David is authentic and real with Nathan and God. He knows he need to change and asks God to change him.
The pastor from my college days fell. Was he a hypocrite? Yes. At least for a short time he was. He apologized to the congregation, to his wife and to the family of those he hurt. He and his wife went to counseling. She went on to forgive him. Eventually he went back into the ministry. But he is only where he is today because he was willing to confess his failure. He was willing to repent and change his ways.
Christianity is not about always being right or even good. It is however acknowledging we are not perfect, we have room to grow and partnering with God to work on those things. When knowing peoples hearts, we look at them differently. We see them as God sees them. When people are authentic we can see their heart. We hear what is going on in their lives. We start to understand and learn to have compassion for them.
If you are a Christian, please be authentic, be real when you mess up. If you are not a Christian please do not judge the church based on a few of us. We all have room to grow.