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Monday, September 24, 2012

Guilty as charged

What had been a terrific and fun-filled Saturday night with my girlfriend and two close friends ended up crashing hard with an e-mail I received shortly after returning home...
Chris, just wanted to let you know that I am de-friending you because basically you are not a friend. Like most other "christians" I know, you seem to be two-faced and unreliable... my "christian" friends seem to be about the most worthless and unreliable of any that I have. I have atheist and agnostic friends who I trust implicitly. At least you've shown me that "christians" truly are a lying, two-face bunch of hypocrits.
That was written by someone who I have known for over thirty years. I cannot be responsible for the choice that this person has made in severing our relationship.

But it is true: I am a hypocrite.

So is every other Christian. Every Christian who sincerely lives and strives to put God first and foremost in his or her life will admit to it, at least. And I would dare say that every Christian who ever lived has been a hypocrite in one way or another. Sometimes in plenty of ways... and I'll admit to being more guilty than most on that charge, too.

Yes, Christians are hypocrites. We are sometimes two-faced and we can be especially unreliable! We even lie sometimes. In short: we are every bit as stupid, scurillous and scoundrelous as any other human being. That we dare to be so ridden with faults while yet claiming to follow One who lived perfectly makes us out in the eyes of many as being the worst of low-life scum.

I know that I am a hypocrite. In more ways than I want to share here.

But neither am I afraid to admit that I am a hypocrite. And so long as I find myself convicted of hypocrisy... which will be until the final breath leaves my lungs in this fallen world... I will continue to confess that flaw in my character.

I am a hypocrite. But it is not what I want to be. And the only hope I have of being sanctified is to continually surrender that frailty to God.

Yes, those who seek mercy from God will be granted mercy. I have no reason to doubt that those who are secured in Him will remain secure forevermore. But rather than being reason to rest from our nature, to orient one's heart toward Christ entails the life-long process of sanctification... and as I have discovered during my own faith journey, that becomes the most difficult and painful part of all in this path we have chosen.

Why must it be so? I have thought about that much over the years. And nothing else makes as much sense as this:

That knowing how frail and fallen we are, we as Christians are not to persuade others to become Christians. We are however meant to persuade others of Christ. And there is no greater way than to show His work - that which is finished and that which He is still accomplishing - in our lives.

If evidence is demanded for conviction, then I will gladly plead guilty every time.


Kristen said...

As I told you before... as much as it may hurt, I think you're better off not having that "friend" if they are going to be like that. Anyway, you have plenty of other friends surrounding you who, despite things you may have done, have stuck around and supported you.

Those are the friends worth keeping, worth having: the ones who realize none of us are perfect and don't judge a person because of their faults, but treat them with love and respect as a fellow child of God. Those true friends are the ones that recognize we may falter and make mistakes, but as long as we strive to be a good person and follow God, and seek forgiveness for any wrongs, they won't hold that against us. They remain by our side.

Chris, you have people like that in your life. Remember that. The ones that have left you? Maybe they weren't good friends to begin with.