A few of you who read this blog are aware that I have been involved in online IRC ministry for the past nine years. During that time I have had countless conversations with people who have had bad experiences with the church. The other day I answered a question from a person who questioned the behavior of people in the church. He was especially concerned about hypocrisy. As a matter of courtesy, I will not post his content here. Frankly, some of my readers might be seriously put off by his tone and language. However, I think there is some validity to his complaint about churches in general and certain religious leaders in particular. Unfortunately, there is often an apparent dismissal of such complaints by many in church leadership. Truth claims are emphasized–and rightly so–but living justly and with integrity as stewards of finances, human relationships, the environment, social responsibility, and ministry with and for the marginalized, not to mention our role as image bearers of God? Not so much in specific cases.
So I replied to his email. I invite you to look over my shoulder in the text below as I attempt to acknowledge his concerns, while inviting him to consider how Jesus, himself, felt about this very issue.
Hi there _____,
Thanks for contacting us with your comments.
I would agree that some people in the church do sometimes act hypocritically. It’s part of life, this business of being human and subject to human frailty, including the ugliness of hypocrisy. It is sad and unfortunate.
Jesus shared your concern two thousand years ago when he confronted the Pharisees for their hypocrisy toward others. You can read what he had to say in Mark 7 in the Bible.
I am sorry that you have been hurt by people in the church. I hope that you will not let the hypocrisy or inconsistency of a few church attenders taint your view of Jesus, especially given the fact he also is concerned about this very issue.