This article was published in the following newspapers:
Norris City Banner – Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Ridgway News – Thursday, November 29, 2007
Gallatin County Democrat – Thursday, November 29, 2007
Hypocrites in the Church
“The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered” (Proverbs 11:9). Why are so many hypocrites in the church?
Actually, hypocrisy is not the only problem. There are lots of sinners in church. In fact, everyone has sinned. Moses murdered a man. King David committed adultery. The Apostle Peter denied Christ.
People should not expect the church to be a perfect place. It isn’t! The church is not a gathering place for perfect people. It is a hospital for sinners. So, whether you are a hypocrite, a gossip, or a murderer, the church is exactly where you need to be!
Of course, God loves you too much to leave you that way. The church is a hospital, and its job is to heal you. If you stay in the church, and never heal, then either that church is goofing up, or you are. But suppose you are getting better, and your neighbor isn’t. Suppose he/she is a real hypocrite who goes to church often, but then sins like the Devil the rest of the week. Now what do you do?
Let me ask you this: When is the last time you left a football game early because the person sitting next to you was a hypocrite? When is the last time you stomped out of the store because someone in another aisle wasn’t shopping properly? When is the last time you refused to take a shower because your next-door neighbor was stinky?
We need to be in God’s house, regardless of what that person in the next seat is doing. We go to church to worship God and fellowship with His people, no matter who else may show up and try to spoil the party. As God’s Word says: “Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer” (Hebrews 10:25 CEV).
And you never know; God may choose to show mercy on that hypocrite sitting next to you. After all, the church is a hospital for sinners just like you and me. . . . hypocrites included.
~ Joseph M. Gleason