All too often we hear stories of supposed “Christians” who have “fallen from the faith” and have been caught in scandals that are completely contradictory to the Bible itself. These stories propagate from the famous television pastors who are broadcast worldwide all the way down to our very own husbands, wives and even children.
For the non-Christians and especially for those on the edge of becoming a Christian, this is just one more reason they have that keeps them from moving forward. It leaves them with the obvious question, Why are Christians so hypocritical? They preach one thing and then the next thing we know, they’re getting caught doing the very things they’ve been preaching against!! Why are Christians so judgmental against the very things they get caught doing?
There is actually a very good reason for this that I believe is all too often under-preached by pastors throughout Christianity. Don’t get me wrong, the question is valid and in no way am I justifying the wrongs of these individuals. But I do think it is important that we all learn from the mistakes of other as Christians and non-Christians.
Used Car Salespeople want New Customers
Imagine you are car shopping. You go from dealership to dealership and suddenly right there it is, the perfect car. It’s just screaming your name all over it. Immediately when you pull into the dealership, a man with slicked back hair, a big smile and an outstretched hand comes to open your door before you even get out of your old car. He’s obviously happy to see you and VERY concerned about helping you and your every need. He offers you something to drink, a snack maybe, anything at all to make you comfortable.
You exchange some small talk and then immediately you point out that car; the one that caught your eye. The salesman picks up on your obvious interest and is more than happy to show it to you. He gets the keys, pulls it around and begins to show you every feature that makes this the perfect car that was tailor made specifically for you. Every time you note something good that you like, he expounds on it making it seem ten times better than it is. When you note something bad, he smooths it over ensuring you that it isn’t that big of a deal and quickly shows you how the obvious great features surely overshadow anything that could be bad.
The next thing you know, you are signing tons of papers, exchanging keys, and out you go with a car that is a little too much for your budget and has a few too many problems. But for the moment, it’s new, it’s what you wanted, and it’s yours.
Immediately you begin to notice a few things that aren’t quite right. Maybe a little vibration here and there, a strange noise, a weird smell, something isn’t right. So the next day, after second guessing your decision, you drive back to the dealership. This time the salesman just looks out of his office window at you driving back up. He doesn’t come to greet you or offer you anything, not even a handshake or a smile. Slowly he gets up and you see him mention something to another salesman and they both chuckle a little.
Where did that welcoming atmosphere go? Why aren’t they making you feel like the king or queen they did when you first drove in? Simple, they have what they want from you already. You were an opportunity the first time you drove in. An opportunity to win you over, make a sale, get your money, get rid of their inventory, and get paid. They next time you come in however, you’re now a liability, a complaint, a problem. They’re looking for opportunities, not for liabilities.
Satan Wants New Customers
Christians are not that indifferent from the example above. When asking, why are Christians so hypocritical, we have to dig deeper in our answer than just being critical of the individuals we are calling “hypocrites”. The answer actually goes much deeper and far beyond the individual person.
Throughout history there are prime examples of famous Christians caught up in scandals doing the very things they preached against.
For those of us old enough to remember the 1980s, James “Jim” Bakker is a primary example of a high profile Christian caught up in scandal. Bakker was caught in a scandal that included sexual abuse, fraud and drugs. Bakker was accused by his secretary of raping and drugging her. He soon resigned from the ministry and was charged with accounting fraud. He was later tried and sentenced to a 45-year prison term.
David Reynolds was once a pastor at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship Church in Sherwood, Arkansas. Reynolds was charged with up to 70 counts of possessing, viewing and distributing content that included child pornography.
This list goes on but aside from these famous cases of high profile ministers, just look around you at every day people. Everyday Christians who you likely see in church on Sunday and then doing the very things throughout the week, or getting caught doing the very things that put them in a negative light contradictory to the very teachings you know they’ve heard Sunday after Sunday. Why?
Go back to that used car salesman example. Does Satan need to go after the unbelievers to pull them over to the dark side of sin and unfaithfulness? Not really, they’re already there. They are customers who have already taken the bait. Satan is after the believers, the Christians. The more he can make Christians look bad, fake even, the easier it is for him to prevent people from committing themselves to God.
Remember that pastor I just spoke about above, David Reynolds? Once this story broke, a well-known website for atheists, atheistrepublic.com, featured this story on their news page. Just another reason for them to exploit their reason for being.
It is Easier to Say “Yes” than “No”
One famous saying coined by my late father that has stuck with me since my childhood is this: “It takes a bigger person to say No than to say Yes”. Think about that for a minute. Back to that car example. You really want that car. The salesman has really highlighted how perfect it is for you and how great you look in it. But BEFORE you take the next step, you notice those imperfections, those issues that could be major problems. You also notice that it’s a little beyond your budget. For the weak, they overlook that and let the temptation of owning that fine machine overwhelm them and in spite of what their instincts say, they give in.
When in a temptation situation, which is easier? To give in or to walk away? What if that temptation includes the peer pressure of your friends or family even. This makes it even harder to just walk away.
My dad was a wise man.
Put on the Full Armor of God
Ephesians 6, verses 10-14 will help us all in these difficult situations. Verse 10-13 states, “.…….be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Note the part that states “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”. This in of itself is a battle in recognizing the schemes of satan himself. Maybe it’s that thought of infidelity, walking out of the store without paying for something, letting that one little cuss word slip, clicking on that web page you know has content that is wrong, skipping church just this once, the list goes on. Satan is crafty and often, he’ll start out with something small, something that may seem insignificant. Those small insignificant “things” turn in to large significant “scandals”.