One of the biggest objections to Christianity is that it’s full of hypocrites. The word “hypocrite” comes from the ancient Greek hupocrite, a technical term for a stage actor.

So, as the story goes, the church is full of people who are pretending to be what they are not: holy. Or perfect. Or whatever.

The church, since it’s a place for the spiritually sick and recovering, battles a breathtaking array of faults and foibles. As far as hypocrisy goes, I’m sure there are some churches that are actually full of hypocrites (that must be a sight!). But I’ve been around church for a long time, and as far as I can tell, it’s generally not the case.

Jesus roundly denounced the religious hypocrites of his day. And that looms large in our spiritual vision, makes us rather slither into a hole in the ground than risk coming off as holier-than-thou.

Do we have hypocrites? Yes. But are we defined by hypocrisy? That would be a horse of a different color. Most of the Christians that I know pull their pants on one leg at a time and just get up everyday and try to follow Jesus without blowing it.

If you think about it, the whole enterprise of church is a perilous one, mostly because Jesus’ claims were so earth-shattering: He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6).

Then you gather a bunch of flawed people who are supposed to be loving, and humble, and all that sort of stuff. Then this group has the audacity to go out in public and be imperfect and try to convince the world that Jesus is awesome. It’s unnerving!

But thoughtful people know we can’t criticize the church for being full of sinners. That’s a bit like criticizing a hospital for being full of sick people. And maybe that’s where we get caught up short. We expected too much: slaying giants or walking on water, or even perfection.

On our best days, we are just trying to help people find God in the daily grind. And maybe for a moment we are lifted by his grace and entranced by his glory. And maybe we make a good impression on someone who needs to hear the good news, that Jesus died for sinners…and even hypocrites…like you and me.

Anchor Church meets at 11:00 AM on Sundays at 103 Ponferrada Way. We have launched our Anchor KIDS ministry…now we just need some kids!

Lance Lefler

Lead Pastor, Anchor Church