The Issue: HYPOCRISY
The Perception: Christians say one thing but live something entirely different.
The Fact: 85% of those who were 16 to 29 years of age surveyed said that Christians are HYPOCRITICAL.
Listen to Fermi Project Podcast: Episode 9 of unChristian
Questions and Quotes for Discussion:
Define what you think someone means when they use the word hypocrite.
What would be your response to someone if they said to you, “The problem with all of you Christians is that you’re all a bunch of hypocrites.”?
“So how did Christians acquire a hypocritical image in America today? Let’s start with the most obvious reason: our lives don’t match our beliefs. In many ways, our lifestyles and perspectives are no different from those of anyone around us. . . . In virtually every study we conduct, representing thousands of interviews every year, born-again Christians fail to display much attitudinal or behavioral evidence of transformed lives. For instance, based on a study released in 2007, we found that most of the lifestyle activities of born-again Christians were statistically equivalent to those of non-born-agains. When asked to identify their activities over the last 30 days, born-again believers were just as likely to bet or gamble, to visit a pornographic website, to take something that did not belong to them, to consult a medium or psychic, to physically fight or abuse someone, to have consumed enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk, to have used an illegal, nonprescription drug, to have said something to someone that was not true, to have gotten back at someone for something he or she did, and to have said mean things behind another person’s back. No difference. One study we conducted examined Americans’ engagement in some type of sexually inappropriate behavior, including looking at online pornography, viewing sexually explicit magazines or movies, or having an intimate sexual encounter outside of marriage. . . . In statistical and practical terms, the two groups are essentially no different from each other.” p. 46-47
Is this good or bad? Why?
If a person claims to be a follower of Christ how should that make an impact on their day-to-day life?
Read Matthew 23 together. It appears that the present-day church would get the same smack-down from Jesus if he were to come down today. What does Jesus have to say about hypocrisy? What are the mistakes of the Pharisees? How do we not become like them?
“ . . . spiritual maturity is demonstrated in a life as an OUTCOME of the condition of a person’s heart and soul, . . . behavior follows belief. . . Embracing personal integrity and rejecting compromises to personal purity are crucial goals for young believers. We cannot hope to shed our hypocritical label if our lifestyles offer no proof of the “fruit” of Christlikeness. These are tough realities to think about, but we must do so if we hope to shift our reputation from unChristian to Christian.” p. 54
What is the “fruit” of Christlikeness? Describe it. Look up Galatians 5:22-23 if you need help.
“Living with integrity starts with being transparent. . . Transparency simply means admitting what the Bible says about us: we are fallen people who desperately need God in our lives – every day. . . Transparency means not merely trying to act right, but being honest about our own lives – even being open about the problems our lifestyles have created.” p. 55
Do you feel like you have people in your life that you can be transparent with? Do you have a Christian friend or adult that you can be transparent with? Do you wish you had one?
- Acting morally superior to others
- Living a lifestyle of compromise
- Pretending to be something you are not
- Being transparent about the areas you struggle with
- Allow God into all areas of your life to be the source of transformation
- Humbly recognizing that we are sinners that are saved by God’s grace alone and not from our “good deeds”. Any good that comes out of us is a sign of the Holy Spirit transforming us to be more like Christ.
The NEW PERSEPTION: Christians are transparent about their flaws and act first, talk second.