While traveling on business this week I overheard snippets of conversation between two of the flight attendants. Basically, one of them was engaged to a young man and her family didn’t approve of the relationship. Some of the family had been, based on the girls perception, downright rude about it. Though I tried to ignore the conversation (I was trying to catch some sleep) one comment stood out in my mind. I can’t recall the specific words the second flight attendant used but it was something along the lines of:
“See, that’s why I can’t stand Christians, they are so hypocritical.”
I hear this so very often. Never directly but I still hear it nonetheless and you know what. It is true.
Many Christians are hypocritical. Many are liars, cheats, drunks, sex addicts, drug addicts, and cheaters. Some are abusive. Some are stupid, arrogant and close minded. Christians are all of these things and many, many more. I openly admit it. In fact, I have been and will be guilty of all sorts of sins as well as a blinding assortment of human frailties and failures. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need Christ.
To be a Christian three things have to happen.
First, there has to be a recognition that we are imperfect and flawed.
Then, there has to be a realization that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t fix all those shortcomings and flaws.
Next, there has to be an acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice to atone (pay the price) for those failings.
Finally, there has to be an honest repentance for those failings.
Most folks these days associate the word repentance with feelings like regret or remorse but from a Biblical perspective it means to “turn away” from sin and towards God. Which means we, as Christians, should always be striving against temptation and to improve ourselves in every way possible, to become as Christlike as we can be. Not because we are commanded to but because if we have truly turned away from sin (repented) we would want to.
Understand, none of us will achieve that perfection in this life. As I said, we want to…but while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.
So, next time you see that guy with the fish symbol on his car driving like an idiot in traffic and acting a fool understand that this is exactly why he needs the Grace that is represented by that symbol. Then maybe ask yourself, have I fallen short of the measure in some way? Am I imperfect? Are there things I need forgiveness for? Because if you do, I have some good news for you.