Monday, January 10, 2011

Integrity Not Hypocrisy

If there is one thing that frustrates me the most, it would be a hypocrite.  The person who says one thing, but does another.  There is no synchronization present.  Their words and actions are not aligned.  It speaks volumes, and I mean volumes, to the character of that person.  They would not be dependable.  They would not be trustworthy.  Every time they open their mouth and words escape from their lips, it will always be a mystery.  You would always wonder if the content of their words will lean one way or the other.  Yes I said lean.  It is as though they may need a V-8.  What’s worst than a hypocrite, is a hypocrite who is also a Christian.  We are to be good examples whenever the opportunity to arise.   In a world where the love of money have been the focus, continuous violence, politics have taken front stage over the will of the people, and a host of other issues, it is a Christian whose behavior should display that contrary to the world’s way, there is still another and better way to live.  However, when a Christian displays behaviors that mimic the world’s view, it lessens the importance of the necessity to follow Christ’s teachings.  This is even worst when Christian leaders are on the front line of this hypocrisy.
The Apostle Paul has also shared this sentiment.  In Gal 2:11-17 Paul had to address some behaviors that came to his attention by way of the church of Galatia.  One of the Apostles, one of  the twelve men that Jesus Christ has chosen for his campaign to preach the Gospel to the nations, the eldest of them all, and the one who Jesus said “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18) fell victim to this hypocrisy.   Peter was the leader of a behavior that was complete contrary to what his teacher taught.  Paul stated he addressed him openly indicating although Peter may have been the elder, when it comes to the Gospel, he is inferior to no one and did not hesitate to call Peter out on his wrong.  Verse 12 explains the hypocrisy.  When Peter was around the Gentiles (non-Jews), he fellowshipped with them, as though they are one in Christ, however when certain Jews came around, the ones who have not fully converted and still hold on to the law as means for salvation, he removed himself from the Gentiles.  His behavior was unacceptable and Paul made sure he made it known.  He reminded Peter that Christ came to remove the wall that separated the Jews and Gentiles.  He reminded Peter, that you followed this same man, and even taught the same things, but because certain men were in his presence, he forsook what he have learned and taught.  Paul showed Peter, that his behavior caused men to follow in suit and now put a stumbling block before the new converted Gentiles. 
Some Christians behave in similar manner.  Take a look at Bishop Eddie Long.  For years he preached against homosexuality, yet reports show he sent young men photos of himself in tights.  When his darkness was revealed, he claimed that he will fight this for the accusations are false, only to seek mediation to settle out of court.   That is a prime example of hypocrisy.  You have some Christians who do not want to be around this or that person because of life choices, and have family members who make similar life choices, and will curse you out if you say anything bad about them.  You have Christians who will live sinfully Monday through Saturday, and put on their holier than thou hat on Sunday.  You have Christians who sit in church and praise God, and receive a message on treating others good, or warned about entertaining strangers with hostility, and will leave church and curse the man who wants to wash their windshield for a dollar.  You have some Christians who preach love and forgiveness, yet they wish Michael Vick was banned from playing football forever for what he did to those dogs.  It is amazing how hypocrites seem to always point fingers outward and not inward.   They are being watched.  They are being watched by those who truly desire to come to church, but cannot deal with the hypocrisy.  Their behavior has now put a stumbling block before a soul who needs saving.  And make no mistake about it, God is watching as well.
Everybody should behave in a manner that is consistent, but for a Christian the standard is higher.  Christ did not come to free us only for us to return back to our bondage.  We are to display integrity.  We are to display a behavior that is attractive.  We are to display that there are differences between a Christian, and a non-Christian, and it starts by remaining true to the Word.  Amen!

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