Confession: The cure for hypocrisy

By Morgan McCririe

Christians are hypocrites.

We’ve all heard it before. We’ve read it in articles, heard it from the lips of atheists, and maybe even seen it exemplified in fellow Christians.

It’s true. Christians are hypocrites, but really, who isn’t?

We’re all hypocrites. We’re human. We’re flawed.

So why is it that Christians get singled out as being the hypocrites? I have a theory about what could be contributing to at least part of this attitude.

A lot of the Christians I know, including me, feel the need to exude joy and be the image of perfection all the time. We have a reason to be joyful and we should be acting our best because, after all, we represent our Savior to nonbelievers.

While this is true, it is also true that life is hard, the world is broken, horrible things happen, and people are not, and cannot be, perfect. No one is perfect and no one is fooled.

As much as we don’t want them to, people see through the façade. They know we are human, and therefore, have major flaws. They know we aren’t perfect.

They already know, so why can’t we just say, “Yeah, I am a sucky person, but the cool thing is that Jesus loves me anyway!”

Whatever your beliefs on Catholicism, they have at least one practice that I think could do Protestants a lot of good: confession.

What an idea! Imagine if we could own up to our shortcomings. Imagine if we could share our failures. What if we, as Christians, were allowed to be flawed? What if we really allowed people to keep us accountable by being honest with them?

Imagine if we could be real. Imagine if we could experience real community and responsibility.

If I tell my accountability partner I’m really struggling with judging others for their love of Top 40 radio, when in reality I’m struggling with a tendency toward random, drunken hook-ups with strangers, then what good is that?

If we can’t even be open with our brothers and sisters in Christ, then with whom can we be open?

I’m not suggesting you post all your worst sins and failures on your Facebook wall. I am, however, suggesting that we be willing to share them with others, both fellow Christians and non-Christians.

We have all heard about the scandals, the well-known pastors who hired prostitutes or cheated on their wives. What would have happened, I wonder, if they had been able to tell someone they were struggling with lust?

I also believe sharing where you have gone wrong and where God is still working in you can be one of the most effective tools for evangelism. It’s the fact that we are so flawed that makes Jesus’ love for us, and his dying for us, so beautiful.

Now, I am in no way saying that it is easy to be open with others about your shortcomings, but it shouldn’t be. It’s worth doing because it’s hard – because it stretches you. The things in life that are most difficult to do are often the ones most worthwhile.

I am not saying that I’ve mastered this. I’m far from it, actually. So, I guess I’m a hypocrite too.

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