Acts of faith: Serving with my fellow hypocrites

If you break one aspect of God’s moral law, you’re guilty of breaking all of it because it’s all or nothing.

  • May. 20, 2012 7:00 a.m.

I work with volunteers, a lot of them. Most church work is done by incredibly gifted, committed, sacrificial, and wonderful volunteers.

I truly can’t thank them enough. I also can’t say enough good things about those volunteers that I serve with. They are simply fantastic.

Some of the ways that people from our church serve include as nursery and children’s workers, at senior’s events, and as softball and soccer coaches.  They make and serve breakfasts at a local school, volunteering in schools, distributing food to the homeless, and helping at community events like Christmas in the Park.

But not everyone feels that way about the church. One of the lines that I’ve heard often by seekers and skeptics is that Christians are all hypocrites. Not one of them lives out fully what they say they believe.”

To be sure, the church has many issues. But some people have had a terrible experience with a Christian and they say: “Well, if that’s what it means to be a Christian, I want nothing to do with the church.”

Here’s what I think. First, you’re absolutely right. I help pastor a church. I can assure you, they are all hypocrites.

It’s why I feel so at home with them.

But, second, if you’ve been let down by the church, or judged, or betrayed, here’s the good news: you might have just found yourself a home. Because surely you’re not saying, “I’m not hypocritical.”

Surely you’re not saying that you live out your belief system perfectly 100 per cent of the time, are you?

Here’s another way to view hypocrisy. Perhaps God is communicating that His grace is big enough even for you. And you might have just found yourself a home.

The Bible says in James 2:10 [NLT], “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”

If you break one aspect of God’s moral law, you’re guilty of breaking all of it because it’s all or nothing. In other words, God views things in a binary way. You’re either perfectly clean or you’re not. And if you’ve sinned, you’ve become unclean and you can’t say, “Well I’m really clean except for that pollution that got into everything.”

How scared would you be if every one of your thoughts, including your motives, was projected on your forehead, everyday, all-the-time, for everyone to see? Suppose God literally taped your smart phone to your forehead and it printed out all your motives and thoughts.  So you are talking to someone and they ask you, “How are you doing today?” And you say, “Fine.” But the phone reads, “I hate your guts and I want you to die.” It’s like a virus infecting a network. Sin gets into us, it gets into every part of us, and this corruption affects every aspect of us.

That’s why we need a new heart. That’s why we need Jesus. He gives us new motives, new desires, new beliefs, and new loves. Real change begins on the inside and then works its way out.

And when God works in a person’s heart and begins to change them from the inside-out, they make amazing, volunteers. They are not perfect. But they are a joy to serve with.

 

Brad Warner is associate pastor at Burnett Fellowship.

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