“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” – 1 Corinthians 12:21-22
People outside the church often see things more clearly than people inside the church, which is an unfortunate and sad truth. Probably one of the most common things non-Christians see and comprehend are issues related to hypocrisy. I’m not talking about the common misunderstanding that Christians are hypocrites because they stand up for their beliefs while not fully living up to their own beliefs. That’s not hypocrisy.
Having beliefs and standing up for them while messing up in other areas is simply being human. While it’s true Christians are not supposed to act like they’re perfect, sometimes they do. That is hypocritical. Yet, it’s absolutely OK to have standards, yet fail at them sometimes.
This is a huge can of worms, and I look forward to discussing this further in future columns. However, the main thing I would like to discuss in this one is the hypocrisy of discarding or judging people to the point they feel worthless, while claiming to love them. That is hypocritical. It’s antithetical to Christianity.
People outside the church often feel judged. Sometimes that is their own misconception, but often it’s legitimate. The reality is there are times when Christians look down on and mistreat or neglect the very people who need to be shown Christian compassion, urgently. Instead they do not feel love at all, and are driven further away from God, Jesus and the church, and the people who claim Christ as their Lord too often are oblivious until it’s too late.
I served a church where one Sunday we had so many people commit to Jesus and want to be baptized that we ran low on supplies (robes, towels, etc.). One of the converts was the local drug dealer I met weeks earlier in a street basketball game. You would think everyone would be excited. Not everyone was. Church leaders had a meeting and informed me we were bringing in “the wrong kind of people.”
That, my friends, is hypocrisy. Any non-Christian reading this knows it. Genuine Christians (unfortunate term) do as well.
Rejection can be such a hard thing to endure. Even the strongest among us can be taken low when people who supposedly love us don’t. Jesus expressed emotional pain as he was ultimately rejected by His own people as He endured the cross.
Maybe you know this pain of which I speak. A spouse can feel extraordinary sadness when an affair leaves him or her feeling discarded. Too many times a child feels this when parents have another child who then gets all the attention. Similarly, a child can feel neglected when a parent remarries. It even hits children hard when parents don’t make time for them due to work or other things. Teens often go through feelings of rejection with break-ups, rumors, clicks, and such.
Read the Scripture with which I started. The church is designed to ensure we all know we need each other. We even desperately need those who often feel the least in the crowds. If that’s you, know you are indispensable!
Christians, please understand this: If God designed it so that we cannot function without the other church people, why are people leaving unnoticed? Where are they, and what are you doing to remind them they’re needed? Too many have slipped through the cracks. We are hypocrites if we simply discard them!
Pastor Jeff Adams is a professional Christian counselor who travels the world teaching but serves our community. His column appears weekly. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.