I’ve heard all my life that the reason many people use for not attending church services (or going to church, if you will) is the abundance of hypocrites sitting in church pews on Sunday.
A hypocrite by definition is someone who wears a mask and pretends to be someone they’re not. It goes back to Greek theater when the actors on stage used to wear masks when portraying different roles.
My old argument used to be that yes, there are hypocrites in churches. There are also hypocrites everywhere else. There are very, very few people whose words and actions always match. But I’m not going to quit going to my place of employment because of hypocrites. I’m not going to stop going to the gym (hypothetically) because of hypocrites.
Now I say that I need to be gathered together with other believers not in spite of the fact that I’m a hypocrite but because I’m a hypocrite. Yes, I am aware that far too often what I profess and how I live don’t match. A lot of times they don’t even come close.
Every time I enter the doors of my church assembly, I’m confessing that I don’t have all the answers and don’t have it all together. I’m admitting that I need not so much to be informed as to be transformed. I need to see Christlikeness modeled and lived out and preached and taught so that I can better live out what I proclaim to believe.
If I weren’t a hypocrite, I could probably stay home on Sunday and catch up on Netflix. I could go jogging with all the other perfect people who apparently have it all together.
The problem is that the Church has done a poor job of communicating why it is that we meet together weekly. It’s not so much a celebration of how we lived so perfectly but a confession that we messed it up again and need Jesus as well as each other. We’re not perfect (or even close to perfect), but we are redeemed and loved, not because we deserve it but because of the grace of God.
So I’ll be there at my church at 9 am next Sunday because I’m a great big hypocrite and still need to be shown how to live like the Jesus I believe in and to show the love of Jesus that He’s shown me. I still need to have others model the faith for me and for me to model my faith for someone else. That’s why I go to church.