Christian hypocrisy probably drives more people away from the faith than any other sin. Unbelievers look at religious phonies and think there must not be anything to Jesus Christ if his followers are that insincere. Christianity is about truth, but if its representatives do not practice what they preach, its power to change lives is called into question. Christians should be different from the world. In fact, the word holy means "set apart." When believers behave in dishonorable ways, the accusation of Christian hypocrisy is well-deserved.
Jesus Called Out Religious Hypocrites During his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ leveled his harshest rebukes to religious phonies. In ancient Israel, they were the Pharisees, a Jewish party known for their hundreds of laws and rules but their personal hardness of heart. Jesus called them hypocrites, a Greek word meaning "stage actor" or "pretender." They were great at obeying the law but had no love for the people they influenced. In Matthew 23, he blasted them for their lack of authenticity.
Today, many televangelists and big-name Christian leaders give Christianity a bad name. They talk about the humbleness of Jesus while they live in mansions and fly around in private jets. They crave adulation, alienating unbelievers with their pride and greed. When Christian leaders fall, they fall hard. But most Christians will never have a public platform or commit the kind of offenses that grab national headlines. Instead, we will be tempted to misbehave in other ways.
People Are Watching Our Lives In the workplace and in social circles, people are watching. If your coworkers and friends know you are a Christian, they will compare your conduct to what they know about Christianity. They will be quick to judge if you fall short. Lying is widespread in business. Whether it is making claims the company cannot deliver on or misleading the boss to cover mistakes, many workers think such behavior is no big deal. Christians, however, are held to a higher standard. Whether we like it or not, we represent the Church and, in turn, Jesus Christ. That is a huge responsibility; one many Christians would like to dodge. It demands that our actions be above reproach. It forces us to make a choice: the world's way or God's way.