We often hear these words, especially on church goers. “There are so many hypocrites in the church” blah blah blah. I do admit that I’m quite sick and tired of hearing members lament hypocritical people as the reason for their shortcomings and backslidings. Because of that, I was a little bit motivated to find out the word “hypocrites”, “hypocricy”, or in a Tagalog slang, “plastic”. Still, despite of me being sick and tired of this line often mentioned by inactive church goers, I think this is worth mentioning in this post.
Years ago, I heard a preacher said that hypocrisy was derived from a word similar to “acting”. Just recently, I browsed that it is right: hypocrisy comes from a Greek word “hypokrisis” meaning “play-acting", "acting out", "feigning" or "dissembling". The word “hypocrite” comes form a Greek word “hypokrites” which means “to play a part”. Putting it on layman’s term, being a hypocrite is being “an actor”. Thus, it is quite right when someone’s called an “actor” when he’s crying on national television, but deep within him, he’s just doing it to gain sympathy.
However, hypocrisy is a commonly misused term, especially by church goers. Yes, church goers who became inactive and churchgoer haters. Sometimes, active church goers and even active ministers misuse. Often times, they use this to the active church person they hate (or don’t like if they don’t like the word “hate”).
Now, since “hypocrisy” ORIGINALLY means “acting”, let’s try to see what an actor does. An actor acts a part that is not him in real life. For example, I am an actor who portrayed a gay man. I acted out as a gay man. Once the director said “Cut!” and once we hear the words “Pack up”, I’ll return to my real self. That gay role is not the real me, it is the role I acted. It is only a mask that I need to wear because my proverbial job says so.
The explanations can be lengthy but I’ll answer it anyway. Here it is:
If a churchgoer is STRUGGLING with his vices, while at the same time attending church (he may have ministry in his local church), he is not a hypocrite. Why? There’s a struggle. Yes, his ministry is unacceptable to God if he lives in sin, but that doesn’t make a person hypocrite. After all, he’s struggling to overcome it, and may have been successful to some extent (but failed in some parts).
It’s not hypocrite when you tend not to “practice what you preach”, ESPECIALLY IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE ON WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. After all, all Christians have struggles within that only through God’s help and grace can overcome. A churchgoer is a hypocrite when he attends the church, listens to the sermon as if he agrees, then goes out, not even talking the sermon on the positive light. If we’ll put this strictly, next to the proud, hypocrites are difficult to have salvation experience (This is another story).
How about people who use the “there are many hypocrites in the church” line. These types of people use this line if they don’t want to make friends with church people. They use this line in order to avoid direct involvement in church ministries. Since saying bluntly, “I don’t want active involvement in my own local church” is offensive and will make a bad image out of him, the “many hypocrites in the church” is another one of covering that. Now, who is more hypocrite than the other? The accuser or the people he’s accusing of hypocrisy?
My fellow brethren in Christ, because of leave imposed on me, I am not allowed on major ministries, but those words don’t make me a hypocrite. If you’re a Christian and your goal is to please God, but one point or another disobeyed him, it is not hypocrite as long as you return focus on that goal: to please God.
Please, if you’re inactive in church going, stop saying the word “hypocrite”. Now, if you hate a fellow brother in Christ, please stop using the “hypocrite” word to him just because you hate him. You’re not only misusing it, but you have the sin of hatred, and God is love NOT HATE (except hatred for sin). You’re misusing it anyway. Instead, let’s get things right in our selves. Pastors and preachers will often say these words: get right with God.
We have our own struggle, and that shows we’re not hypocrites.