Daily Reading & Prayer

Why Are There Hypocrites in Church?

April 28, 2024
Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”


Many people steer clear of church and Christianity, echoing a common complaint: “The church is full of hypocrites!” This sentiment reflects a deeper disillusionment: if Christians claim to follow Jesus, why is his presence sometimes so hard to detect in their lives? This critique isn’t new. Mahatma Gandhi, deeply moved by the teachings of Jesus, once sought to explore Christianity as a solution to India’s oppressive caste system. His quest ended abruptly when he was shunned at a church door because of his ethnicity, leading him to famously remark, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” This painful experience illustrates how actions misaligned with proclaimed beliefs can deeply hurt others and push them away.

What exactly is a hypocrite? It’s someone who doesn’t practice what they preach. They can articulate the right values, but their actions tell a different story. Truth be told: we are all hypocrites at times. Yet, recognizing hypocrisy in the church confirms that genuine, faithful Christians exist—just as counterfeit money implies the existence of real currency. Jesus himself warned that not everyone in the church would truly follow him, using the parable of the wheat and tares to illustrate that truth and deception often coexist (Matthew 13:24-30). Importantly, being a hypocrite is just one of many failings; we are all flawed, we all sin, that’s why we are all in need of a Savior.

When faced with the imperfections of churchgoers, the real focus should be on Jesus Christ, not his followers. Christ is the heart of Christianity, and he was no hypocrite. It’s crucial to understand the church for what it truly is—a hospital for the spiritually sick, not a showcase for saints. Like a hospital treats the ill, the church is a place where flawed individuals come to heal and grow. This perspective shift can change how we view those within the church, encouraging us to see them as fellow patients on the path to recovery.

Thus, Christianity is a journey of continuous growth to become more like Jesus, not instantaneous perfection. We start our spiritual life as works in progress, gradually growing in faith and understanding. Ruth Graham beautifully captured this idea with the epitaph she chose: “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.” It’s a reminder that we are all under construction, slowly being shaped to be more like Jesus. As John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace, succinctly put it: “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” In our journey with Christ, the end goal is transformation—a promise of what we will ultimately become when we see him face to face.


James 2:17 teaches that faith without works is dead. Are you living out your faith actively? Are you serving others in your church, in your community? Take a practical step forward by signing up to serve your church today!


Lord, teach me to be authentic in my walk with you, not merely in words but in my actions. Give me the courage to face my own shortcomings and the wisdom to correct them. Guide me in finding ways to serve others, that I might not only profess my faith but actively demonstrate it through acts of service. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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