When You Hear That Most Christians Are Hypocrites

Harold Sala

We are objects of reproach to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us.
Psalm 79:4

Have you ever heard someone say, “I would be a Christian but there are too many hypocrites”? Now in absolute honesty, perhaps, you may admit that you, too, have had such a thought. A hypocrite is someone who pretends to have something he really does not possess. He’s a fraud, a fake, a pretender.

A young man I once knew grew up attending church. In high school, he took a part-time job in a shoe store owned by two of the deacons in that church. The young man watched the lives of those men. He noticed that they took up the offering in church on Sunday, stood at the doors and greeted people, smiles pasted on their faces, and pretended to be saints, but left it all behind on Monday as they became shrewd and even dishonest merchants. After a while he got his fill of it. One Sunday morning he stormed out the church, slamming the door behind him saying, “If that is Christianity, I want no part of it.” I will always wonder if his life would have been different if those two deacons had not been counterfeit Christians.

The sad thing is that the failures of these two men loomed up as a dark cloud that obscured the reality of those whose lives have been changed by God’s power, who are the real thing. He saw only their failures.

First, notice that the mere existence of counterfeit Christianity is actually proof positive that the real does exist. Never forget that though the imitation is often spurious, the genuine and true article exists. Because some people counterfeit Christianity, you can be sure that authentic Christianity does exist and is real. Do you remember that as a child you may have been content with fool’s gold because of its sparkle and glitter? But when you became old enough to realize that it was only an imitation, you would never be satisfied with that which looked real but was not.   So it is with counterfeit Christianity. Regardless of the superficial, insincere Christian faith that you may see, the genuine does exist.

Second, notice that people never counterfeit that which is not valuable. Money is counterfeited because real money has value. I’ve often said that nobody counterfeits brown wrapping paper. Why? Because it is practically worthless. Only that which is valuable is worth counterfeiting. So, if the model of faith you have seen is lacking, do not let that make you come to the conclusion that all Christianity is phony. When people tell me that meeting a hypocrite stops them from entering the door of faith, I usually ask, “Have you ever known just one real Christian? I mean one person who you know was the real thing? If so, disregard the fake and seek the kind of faith you saw in the one who you know was genuine.”

Third, notice that a hypocrite is what a Christian is not–not what a Christian really is. Sometimes people try to copy Christ’s life–to live as He lived without ever inviting Him to come into their lives. The only way you can live a genuine Christian life is by having Christ in your heart.

The Bible, God’s Word, tells us that a Christian is one who with sincerity of heart has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Not a perfect person, but a new creation in Christ. Whatever may be the faults of others, remember that it is your actions for which you are responsible. Not theirs.