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What is the church? What's it supposed to be like and why

The church is full of hypocrites

Postby MolyRoly » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:52 am

The church is full of hypocrites. It’s supposed to be different, and better than that. I’m sick of it.
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Re: The church is full of hypocrites

Postby jimwalton » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:53 am

We have a picture in our heads of an ideal marriage, and we dream about it, and we imagine ourselves in it. But the reality of life, no matter how good it is, is different than that, and we realize that every person has their flaws as well as their strengths, and putting two personalities together takes quite a bit of negotiation, compromise, and “real life” rather than “ideal life.”

We have a picture in our heads of an ideal family, and we think that maybe somewhere it might exist, where the parents always love each other and agree with each other, and the children are loving and obedient, and everybody gets along and is happy. But the reality of life, no matter how good it is, is different than that, we realize that parents disagree and are sometimes disagreeable, and that children in on a steep learning curve and are sometimes disagreeable, and putting multiple personalities together is a huge juggling act that has its ups and downs.

A person who wants to be a doctor, for instance, has this ideal in their head about helping people and keeping people alive. That does happen, of course, but that person quickly finds out about hospital politics, doctor egos, the hierarchy of power, meanness in personalities, contentious patients, and a world of other normal human behaviors that compromise the ideal of helping people. It’s all part of the picture of real life.

We have this picture in our heads of an ideal church, where the people love the Lord and are all spiritually mature, and not a single one thinks of themselves but lives for the Lord and to encourage the body of Christ. Everybody participates, and no one allows their personalities and personal preferences to interfere with the goals and processes of the community. But the reality of life, no matter how good it is, is different than that. Churches, by definition, have an open-door, open invitation policy of come-one, come-all. You don’t have to get elected to the church, like a politician. You don’t have to qualify for it with a resume and references, like a business. You don’t have to audition, like a musician, or have try-outs, like a sports team. Anyone can come, any time. Now, that’s good thing, because if everyone had to qualify to be able to come, you’d scream foul: “What kind of church is that?!?” “I’m not good enough for that church.” “That church is like a country club for the elite.” But when people don’t have to qualify to come to church, you still scream foul. “It’s full of hypocrites!” That’s not exactly fair.

Every person has their flaws as well as their strengths, and putting not only two, but 200 personalities together, it’s far from ideal. Jesus said the church is to be sort of like a hospital, where anybody can come. But if ANYBODY can come, then ANYBODY can come, and it’s full of sick people. Jesus said he wanted the people in need to come, as well as those who are able to give care, but then we complain that the church is full of needy people—they’re hypocrites! They don’t have their act together, and they don’t tell it straight or play it fair. Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If anybody can come, then that’s just what will happen, and it’s not fair to criticize it for being full of people who don’t qualify.

Jesus predicted the church would be a mess. In the parable of the wheat and weeds (Mt. 13.24-30, 36-43), he prophesied that the church would attract a lot of rabble, and that’s just what it has done. When you open the door so anyone can come in, you get the smart and the stupid, the poor and the rich, the serious and the spectators, the dedicated and the fakers, guys and girls, young and old, the real and the hypocritical. And if the church started throwing out the people who weren’t good enough, you’d scream foul. “This is a church! You can throw people out who don’t qualify!” The other choice is to work with the mess to help everyone who can possibly be helped. But then you can’t fairly criticize the church for being full of people who need help.

Have you seen the world lately? Politics is full of self-seeking, forked-tongued hypocrites. Our business leaders are hypocrites, advertising for the good of society while cheating us and lining their own pockets. Educators are hypocrites, protecting incompetence with the unions. But you think the church should somehow be full of saints and only saints. After all, isn’t that the point, you’re probably thinking—that the church is a place where hypocrites are turned into saints? Yes, that is the point, and it’s long and faulty process. There are many successes, and many failures. That’s the reality. So don’t walk out the door in a huff. Realize the realities of life, and that, by design and necessity, it’s far from the ideal we would all like it to be.
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