Kevin Croft, Hope Church Vauxhall
If you spend enough time with me you might well ask, “Why do you say one thing then act another way? Why don’t you practice what you preach?”
Firstly, I want to say that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian. Some people do awful things and claim that they are doing it for God, but that doesn’t mean they are all actually Christians.
But secondly, people who are Christian aren’t always perfect. Christians sometimes do or say the wrong thing, and they hurt people. Maybe you’ve been hurt by Christians in the past - I’m sorry about that.
If you want to know what being perfect looks like, you need to look at Jesus. He never messes up or gets stuff wrong. He shows what a perfect life looks like: it means loving God perfectly and loving each other perfectly.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t live like that all the time.
When Jesus meets the religious people of his day - a group called the Pharisees - he straight up calls them exactly what they are: hypocrites. He says they make themselves look good on the outside, but on the inside they are really ugly. And because they are lying about who they really are, they make the rest of us feel bad. Jesus says they’ve got God all wrong.
See, being a Christian isn’t about pretending to be good; it’s about admitting that you’re bad. Jesus says he didn’t come for people who have everything sorted; he came for people that are messed up.
Jesus doesn’t want us to pretend that we always do the right thing. He wants us to say sorry for the wrong things that we do, and he says he will forgive us if we do.
So you shouldn’t be surprised if Christians mess up and let you down. Christians are people who know they need to say sorry a lot.
But even though becoming a Christian doesn’t make you perfect overnight, it does change how you live. Jesus says that when we follow him we become more like him. We live more like he lived, and we care more about what he cares about. We learn to love God more, and we learn to treat each other better too.
So sometimes, when you see Christians acting in a way that looks hypocritical, it is a great reminder that these are exactly the kind of people that Jesus came to help. We don’t always practice what we preach, but we do want to. Christians are people who say sorry when they mess up, who receive forgiveness from Jesus, and who ask for his help to live more like him in the future.