My Own Experience
I wasn't a practicing Christian at the time that this took place.
It was a very busy time in my life. With family, work, and all of the activities my children were involved in, I barely had time to sit down for five minutes. The only day for grocery shopping that I could fit into my busy schedule was Sunday, and so I'd gotten into this pattern of grocery shopping each week on that day.
I knew that grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon would be no fun as I was familiar with seeing the behavior of some Christians who seemed to flock to the grocery stores when church let out. For some reason, it seemed to me that people were more rude, and more obnoxious than usual on that specific day.
My husband had the day off, so he came along with me to do our weekly shopping. The store was especially busy, and It seemed that every isle in the grocery store was packed with people who had to look at every single ingredient on a package before placing an item in his or her shopping cart. Others seemed unaware that they had a rear-end that prevented anyone else from simply walking past them as they took up more than half the isle. It was a rather typical day of shopping on a Sunday. We were making some decent progress in getting everything on our shopping list, which meant that we would be out of the store in no time.
As my husband and I stepped out of one of the isles, we both noticed four women who were walking together. They were all dressed up in their Sunday best, with big hats on their heads and designer purses on their arms. They were walking side by side like one single unit, and they all seemed to have their noses up in the air as they walked along. As they approached us, my husband and I moved aside as to not disrupt their grand parade, and allow them to walk on by.
When they were out of hearing distance, my husband looked at me, and being the natural comedian that he is, he said, "I wonder if they have Jesus in their purses." When I chuckled a little, he continued and said, "Get out of my way, I just got done with church and now I have Jesus on my shoulder."
At this point I couldn't help but to laugh out loud. It was funny, because his description of what they might have been thinking seemed very accurate.
As we finished checking out our groceries. I told the Cashier that I hoped she would get a break as she seemed a little stressed out. That's when she told me that, "Sunday's are the worst," I nodded in agreement with her, and was was glad that I wasn't the only one who disliked the store on Sundays.
My Own Attitude
I personally have always tried to be considerate of others. It's the way my mother raised me. I learned to respect my elders, to give up my chair when an older person is standing, and to be considerate to those around me. These responses have always been somewhat automatic, and the result of an upbringing with a good Christian mother. Don't get me wrong. I've come short of doing "what's right," many times. Likely more times than I even realize. However, I believed that I was not at all like the people I disliked so much at that time.
Even though my mother was a Christian, I had developed my own ideas of what being a Christian represented based on what I saw in Church. Even as a child, most of my church going experiences led me to view church as more of a club to gather with other "holier than thou," people. Rather than a place to really learn about God.
Don't misunderstand me, I did happen to know a few people who were very Christian like. There was my sweet Sunday school teacher who had such a kind heart. Some of the things that she taught me as a child stayed with me even when I walked away from Christianity. There was an elderly couple who always took a minute out to talk with me, and I remember when they hugged me, it was like I just knew that they really walked the talk. For the most part though, many seemed to be at church just for the appearance aspect, as though it meant that they were good people. "Look at me, I'm at church, that makes me good."
When I was old enough to make my own decision to not go to church anymore, I decided that it wasn't where I wanted to be, because most Christians were phony. I had developed this attitude that since most people who say they are Christians didn't actually seem to live according to the Bible, then the Bible must be wrong.
So I walked away from Christianity until I was in my mid-thirties.
I Didn't Want To Hear It
Over the next several years, I pretty much did what I wanted, I believed what I wanted, and there was not a soul on earth who could convince me that Christianity was true.
I never considered myself to be an atheist. In fact, I learned how to pray as a child and I prayed often, even during the years that I thought that Christianity was a farce. I never stopped believing in God. I figured that there must be another way, and a better way to get near to God, and I would find it myself. I certainly didn't want to get caught up in some "fake religious system."
It wasn't that I thought that just Christians were phony, I believed that everyone who followed any religion was brainwashed, and that people were incapable of considering anything outside of their religious doctrines.
I didn't much care what anyone thought of me, and when anyone would attempt to tell me anything related to the Bible, I'd pretty much stop them in mid-sentence and say, "been there, done that." Then I'd either change the subject, or simply walk away.
In 2005, something happened that I simply cannot explain. I had gone through some very difficult times, and I was questioning everything that I did and did not believe. It was like God was telling me that He has allowed me to go my own way for all those years, but the time had come where I had to make a decision to either continue down the path I was on, or turn to Him.
This was not some normal "crisis" where people run scared back to what they know. What happened was a serious reckoning, and it was clear to me that I had a choice to make.
Everything about me wanted to reject Christianity, and as I sorted through my long-held beliefs about the religion, I would speak my thoughts in prayer. "Christians don't really follow the bible," The response would be, "Are you really following the Bible?" Or "Christians don't really care about anyone, they're all hypocrites!" The response would be, "Do you really care about others? Are you a hypocrite?"
It seemed that any excuse that I would offer up would be met with a look at my own self.
It was a time of deep introspection, and the more that I considered the faults of others the more I saw my own faults.
I had been so busy looking at others for all those years, that I never once stopped to look at myself. It was a painful realization when I understood that I was not better than those I had spent so many years disliking. In fact, I found that I was worse.
People are people, and regardless of what religion they associate themselves with, they're still going to be people who act like people and do selfish and uncaring things.
Perhaps this is the very reason why Jesus said, "Narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it." Only a few will actually seek the truth in Christ, and that has nothing to do with saying we're associated with any religious sect. I know that there are some who won't call themselves by the "Christian," name because they dislike the ways of many who call themselves "Christian." The title, "Christian," is the name that the early disciples assigned to all believers, and simply because I dislike the way some walk who carry the name, I pray that I will carry it with the original intent and live a life that deserves such an amazing title.
If we spend much of our time analyzing the motives of others, and disqualifying them based on what we see, if we'd bother to look at ourselves, we would see that we're not any more qualified than they. Then maybe, at that point, we'll actually begin to grow and mature in Christ.
I made the decision that I would seek God with all my heart, mind and strength. I had to stop concerning myself with the areas where I believed that others fell short, and start being certain that where I saw lack, the same lack wasn't part of my own walk.
I completely agree with what Paul said, "How will they hear without a preacher," Romans 10:14. There has to be established places or churches where others hear about the life that is in Christ Jesus. The things that I did hear as a child stayed with me, even after all those years, and those very words worked like a compass, when I really needed direction.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
The above verse is absolutely true. I've experienced it. If you happen to be one who shares the word of God and the truth of the life that is in Christ Jesus, even if it seems a person doesn't hear what you've said, God's word will not return void. It may not accomplish the purpose on the day that you shared it, but mark my word, it will accomplish God's purpose, in His timing.
Once a person makes the decision to follow Jesus, that is where the rubber meets the road. We can be among the "bench warmers," or those who are content just going to church once a week and then spending the rest of the week not giving God another thought. Or we can be among the few that plow through all of the issues of this life, and look beyond the tangible, to see that there is much more to life than we can even imagine. God is there with us every second as we seek the truth, and grow, and mature in Christ.
Don't misunderstand me. As Christians we are to tell each other when we see a brother or sister falling short. Sometimes God may send a person to another person or to a Church to call on them to get right with Him. If anything is said out of our own self-righteousness, it's completely unacceptable to God. There's none that are good, not one. Only Jesus holds that championship.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: Proverbs 1:5
For unbelievers, and those who have walked away from God. Understand this, in the end God is not going to care what any of us thinks about anyone else. God already knows every single person through and through.
A person can complain about all the things that he or she dislikes about Christians, and it won't make one bit of difference. What God is interested in is YOU.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24.
To answer the question, "Are Christians Hypocritical." Yes, and so is every other person alive. The hope for the believer is that each and every person will seek God in Christ and grow up in Him. Sure, there's always going to be those that we see behaving blatantly self-righteous, but I'm reminded of something that Jesus said to the disciples after He rose from the dead. Peter asked about a disciple of Jesus:
Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. John 21:21-22
We can ask Jesus the same thing, "what shall this person do," or "why is that person getting away with that?" And Jesus will answer, "what is that to you? Follow Me." We'll each answer for ourselves, as will every person that we so easily complain about.
When we can honestly take a look at ourselves, only then can we really grow. If we think we're already "perfect," then what more is there that God or anyone can teach us?
The only person who walked perfectly, without hypocrisy is Jesus Himself. The rest of us should be growing and maturing in Him, all the while abiding in Him so that we can actually shine the light that is Christ in us.
Betty A F (author) from Florida on November 28, 2017:
One more response to Martin,
I believe that a person can be a Christian and misrepresent his or her religion. That doesn't mean that the person is not born again. It does mean that the person isn't growing and maturing.
Betty A F (author) from Florida on November 28, 2017:
Good questions Martin,
We can't say who is born again and who isn't. To say that someone is not "really," a Christian, would be the same as condemning the person. Luke 6:37 says not to condemn.
However, we are to use judgment in what we will hear and accept as being the truth, and it should always line up with the Bible.
Also, Jesus spoke about there being both wheat and tares in and outside of the church. "The world is the field." Matthew 13:38. He also spoke about the "sheep and the goats," who will be divided in the end.
I fully believe that everything that we hear should be prayerfully sought out in the scriptures before we accept it as being God's truth.
Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful response.
Martin from Nairobi on November 25, 2017:
Hi Betty,today being a Sunday,i had to tap from your deeply inspiring articles,this one in particular challenged me to self search,but it left me wondering,can you be a Christian and not be born again?(saved). Can you be religious and yet misrepresent your religion?
Betty A F (author) from Florida on November 19, 2017:
I hear you Kari, we definitely need fellowship.
"Iron sharpens iron," and we all need to be sharpened.
I hope you are having a very blessed weekend.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 19, 2017:
I really enjoyed this article! I struggle with going to church for the same reasons. However, I have come to realize that I need fellowship with other Christians and that it is not my job to judge. When I think how judgmental I have been about Christians it makes me very sad.
Betty A F (author) from Florida on November 18, 2017:
Hi Oztinato, I only capitalized the word as it's part of the title. :)
Lowercase or uppercase, it means the same thing and it branches out into several principles.
The article was actually inspired by some atheists I've spoken with personally. One of the biggest complaints I've heard is that "Christians are hypocritical." I get it, because I used to think the same kind of things. So I wanted to make the point that the whole world can be hypocritical. Christians get a lot of flack, but people can be at different places in their walk, because we go from the milk to the meat of the word. I'm not a perfect person, and I have never met a perfect person. Jesus is the only one who lived perfectly on this earth.
I agree with you that there are different extents, but hypocrisy is clearly defined in the scriptures. It's actually mentioned as being part of the "leaven," that we are to be ware of.
Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
The definition of hypocrisy from Luke ch. 12 is:
1) an answering
2) an answer
3) the acting of a stage player
4) dissimulation, hypocrisy
Number 3, among the definitions really stood out to me. I think there's a lot of that, and speaking from my own take on it, I think we can spot a person who is acting very easily. So can those who are of the world. We have to be completely real with ourselves and others.
"A little leaven leavens the whole lump."
Even in terms of judging others. That's s a whole great big topic all on its own. A huge part of it goes into judging others while we ourselves are doing the same things.
A lot of people draw on the single verse:
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Then Jesus adds the "sowing and reaping," element to it, and we reap what we sow:
Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
The passage isn't saying that we shouldn't judge between right and wrong. God wants us to "be wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove." Removing all judgment would make each and every person alive completely morally corrupt.
So hypocrisy has aspects tied to it that don't actually mention the word within the scriptures.
Jesus did use the word often when referring to the Pharisees. Although, those who teach are held to greater standards we all can fall into hypocrisy, Christians or non-Christians alike. For us as believers, I think it's an important part of examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith. If we spend our time looking down on others who we deem "lower than us," rather than remembering where it was that we came from, and realizing that we fall short too, then we're simply spinning around on a hamster wheel and not growing ourselves at all.
I think there are some very fine lines involved, because we are to speak the truth no matter who likes or dislikes us for it. There is a difference between speaking the truth out of complete concern for a fellow human being, or speaking it from as a way to make ourselves feel more "righteous," than we actually are.
This subject always reminds me of the two men who went into the temple to pray. One prayed by telling God all of the "good," and righteous things he did, while the other asked God to have mercy on him, a sinner.
Jesus said that the second man was justified that day.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
I personally don't believe that there's a way to make a scriptural principle seem less about us, and more about the "other guy." There has to be no compromise. It either means what it means, or it doesn't.
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on November 18, 2017:
We can all be lower case "hypocrites" but real "capital H" Hypocrisy is a different thing.
Actually the word hypocrisy is bandied about too easily these days. If we look at JCs use of that word He reserved it for only the worst examples of religious hypocrites of the time and forgave others very easily.
If someone lowers their ethical game or slips up are they really hypocrites?
I've discussed the hypocrisy of certain atheist leaders in my hub on atheism.