Tag Archives: hypocrites

Don’t Fake It Till You Make It

I used to love watching “Flip This House”. One of my favorite flippers was Richard Davis. In one of the episodes, he flipped the Charleston Crab House. I’ll never forget that episode because he shared how poor he was when he started out. He couldn’t afford to have an office anywhere nice, so he rented a closet at an upscale office building. He put the address on his business cards to impress potential clients. When a client would ask to meet at his office, he countered with, “Why don’t you meet me at the Charleston Crab House. We can discuss it there. It’s nearby and it’s my treat.”

He revealed in that episode that he couldn’t even afford to buy his own lunch, much less theirs. The restaurant had offered him a tab and when he closed a deal, he would settle up with them. It was years later before he made enough to really move into that office building. It was a real life success story of fake it till you make it. Because he and others have been successful at that approach to life, others have tried it more than they should have. The sad part is that many people also try that approach with Christianity.

It’s better to work at moving into a closer relationship with God than to fake it and pretend you’re closer than you really are. People who are honest about where they are in their walk with God are given a lot more grace than those who choose to hide where they truly are. The fake it till you make it Christian is the reason so many people think the Church is full of hypocrites. They are turning people off to what it means to go through the process of growing a relationship with God.

Proverbs 12:9 says, “Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process” (MSG). I think this applies to our Christian life as well as our work life. It’s better to be an ordinary Christian who is working out their salvation with fear and trembling than to be one who pretends to have it all together and is starving spiritually. In Matthew 7:23, Jesus tells us that on the last day that He will address the fake it till you make it Christian and say, “You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourself important.”

Our lives are much like one of the flipped houses on the TV show. They are constantly under construction and have areas for improvement. There are things we’d like God to change in our lives, but we aren’t willing to pay the price to get it. When we do that, we become a work in progress that won’t fulfill the potential God sees in us. The superficial, fake it till you make it life will crumble the moment hard times come. But those who take their time, pay the cost of discipleship, and invest quality time with God will be accepted by God and their lives will point others to the cross and salvation through Jesus.


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A Church Full of Hypocrites

Sometimes I think we all forget that the church is made up by people like you and me. It’s full of imperfect people who, despite being forgiven of their past, still struggle to escape it. There are people who go, not because they are Christians, but because they think it’s good to go. There are people who go only because they want their children to be exposed to it. There are people who go in order to find absolution for something they’ve done that they can’t forgive themselves of.

There is no one perfect in any church. Not the pastor, preacher, priest, rabbi or person sitting next to you in the pew. Somehow, we expect them to be because they are Christians. We expect them to always say the right things, do the right things and to drop everything to pay attention to us. When that doesn’t happen, we label them hypocrites. We say the church is full of people who are fake. Yet, we don’t go look in the mirror and hold ourselves to that same perfect standard.

If the church was truly full of perfect people, why would anyone want to go there? I’m glad the church has hypocrites, liars and cheaters in it. That means that there are people there who know they don’t have it all together, but they know the place where they can go to get help. They recognize they don’t have all the answers so they go to the place where they can find some of the answers to their questions. The person up front doesn’t have all the answers either. They’ve just chosen to be an imperfect person who has submitted to being the one whom God could speak through.

So many of us have left churches or church all together because we’ve held an imperfect person to a perfect standard. It’s a standard that not even we ourselves could ever live up to. I’ve been on churches all over the world and I’ve yet to meet a person in one of them who ever claimed to be perfect or had the ability to always say the right thing. I’ve learned to cut people a lot of slack for things they have said or done that have offended me because I need that same grace from them. I say and do things that offend others too because I’m not perfect. The fact that I go to church doesn’t somehow prevent me from doing that.

This Sunday is “Back to Church Sunday”. If you’ve ever left the church because you were offended or held an imperfect person to a perfect standard just because they were a Christian, I want to invite you to go back this weekend with a different set of lenses on. Go in with eyes that recognize the people in there are just like you. They don’t have it all figured out, they might be hypocrites, they might be liars, but know that they’re there in order to change from those ways. Put aside your pride and offer them the same grace you want them to offer you.

I look forward to seeing you in church this Sunday. If you’re looking for someone who is perfect, you won’t find them. But if you’re looking for a friendly face on an imperfect person, I’ll save you a seat next to me. I hope that you’ll give church a second chance this weekend.

Click here for a short video that I saw earlier this week about “Back to Church Sunday” that I think you’ll like.


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Are We Goats Thinking We’re Sheep?

I’ve got Haiti on my heart this morning. Partly because I’m headed back in a few months and partly because we watched a video from Richard Stearns from World Vision last night. He reminded us of the scripture in Matthew 25:35-40 where Jesus told of the day where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus said that He will turn to the sheep and say, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (MSG)”

What stood out to me last night as he read that scripture was the response of the sheep. They said, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (MSG)”. They didn’t even realize it was Jesus they were doing it to. They were doing those things because God’s love compelled them to.

That’s a stark contrast from where the Church is today. The Barna Group released the results of a study yesterday. They interviewed over 700 self-professed Christians and asked a series of 20 questions about attitudes and actions. In the end, only 14% of self-professed Christians were found to have the attitudes and actions of Jesus. Another 14% had the actions of Jesus, but not His attitude. The results show a lot more and if you like, you can see it here.

If we add those numbers together, barely a quarter of Christians act like Jesus. He spent His time in ministry to the poor, the hurting, the outcasts, the leppers and the unwanted. He spent very little time with those who were looking for power and prestige. He made it clear that He wanted us to do the same. You can see that in what He said in Matthew 25. The ones who made it to Heaven were those who fed the hungry, gave drinks to the thirsty, sheltered the homeless, gave clothes to the poor and visited those who were sick or in prison. When is the last time we’ve done any of those things?

We’ve spent millions building bigger, more stylish churches and only thousands on taking care of the poor. I look at those results of the Barna group and ask myself, “What area do I fall in? Do I have both the attitudes and actions of Jesus? Am I in the 28% or in the other 72%?” Those are tough questions that God and I are going to work through. I encourage you to ask the same questions. If you’re not in the 28%, what can you start doing today to move in that direction? How can you be one of the sheep instead of a goat?

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