- A Resource Posted by the Lay Delegates
- There are so many valuable resources that are now available from our recent General Conference. These wonderful tools can help your congregation appreciate the value of being together as MCC in all our amazing diversity and commitment. Share at least one of the plenaries, worship services, or other resources from General Conference at your church or community in October. I would be honored if you would share my sermon, “Unshakeable Confidence,” for instance as a way to experience solidarity and encouragement for your congregation. CLICK HERE to view it.
This past Sunday we learned that Jesus called some people hypocrites because they worked on the Sabbath by taking care their animals. We then compared our lives as Christians today to “non-believers” to discover that little actually separates us, giving the impression to those out-side the church that we are hypocrites.
I offered 4 “antidotes” to hypocrisy:
Choose authenticity. If Christianity isn’t true and holistically transformative, then there are plenty of other things to do with one’s time. SunCoast is on a transformative journey today! Other churches are using phrases similar to our “Come as you are, believing as you do.” What do we need to do to make that our authentic lifestyle?
Small things can make a huge impact. We can never underestimate the huge impact our small choices (how we correct our kids in public, what we say about shared friends, how we tip, the way we engage or ignore the person checking our groceries, or how we respond to being cut off in traffic) can make. Our mind-set needs to be radically missional. Every moment is potential evangelism!
Don’t fight with Jesus when you agree with him. Does it strike anyone as a bit ironic that nonbelievers and Jesus share the same harsh opinions toward hypocrisy? That is a great evangelism piece. Next time you hear the hypocrisy argument, tell them they sound like Jesus. Remind them not to let something they and Jesus agree on keep them from exploring faith.
Apologize often. Remember that Christians and nonbelievers basically do the same stuff. Our ACTIONS make us different. Although I do not advocate bumper-sticker theology, one well-intentioned car shared the message “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” The message is on point. “Christians are transparent about their flaws and act first, talk second.”
What better way to prove and spread this message than by apologizing to nonbelievers who think we’re all hypocrites? Authentic apologies: “I’m sorry you felt that way.” “I need to ask for your forgiveness.” “I really made a mistake on this one – I’m deeply sorry for how it affected you.”
The good news is that these 4 antidotes to hypocrisy lead to celebration, not condemnation; to rejoicing, instead of rejection. The healed woman immediately began praising God and the entire crowd rejoiced at all the wonderful things that Jesus was doing . Jesus was concerned enough about choosing authenticity and integrity that he put his own life and ministry into question by bucking religious conventions and breaking rules.
That must have been a fun way for him to live perfectly, and it’s a great model for us as we live imperfectly.