This question may have arisen because of some personal bad experience with a church, a Christian or a clergyman.
Christians are like everyone else - they are imperfect, and will fail to always act appropriately. It is because Christians make mistakes and fail to live as their Lord Jesus desires that others can level this charge of hypocrisy at them.
However, it needs to be recognised that not everyone who goes to church, or claims to be a Christian is in reality the genuine article. Make sure you have not condemned all Christians on the basis of some church attenders action who was never a Christian in the first place.
Authentic Christians know they are not perfect. They see themselves as a work in progress, and take their failings and mistakes seriously. True followers of Jesus, when they know they have caused hurt or harm to others, should be quick to apologise and where possible make restitution, while asking God for forgiveness as well.
It would be foolish, and an insult, to say that all electricians are crooks because you had one or even several bad experiences. It is just as foolish to reject the Christian faith because you had some bad experiences with Christians.
Yes, it is sad and unfortunate that Christians act badly and hurt others, but that reality does not change the truths that flow from the life of Jesus. The fact that Christians do not follow their leader perfectly does not invalidate the truth of Christianity, or the claims of Jesus to be the perfect Son of God. (Christians need to be forgiven as much as anyone else).
It would be wonderful if all Christians perfectly mirrored their Lord, but ultimately Christianity has to be evaluated on the basis of its founder Jesus, not its followers. A close examination of Jesus' life will show that he opposed all hypocrisy and did himself practise perfectly what he preached. Unlike so many leaders and thinkers of his day, and our own, Jesus had no credibility gap between the message he taught and life he led.
Before switching off Christianity, and the only opportunity to be forgiven and have life eternal with God, check out Jesus for yourself. Read one of the histories of his life in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Note what he taught, how he lived, and what he's done to rescue us all from our personal failure and hypocrisy. by Stephen Abbott
© 2002 Christianity.net.au
used with permission