Q: My neighbor is a really good person who’s always helping people and all that, but he won’t have anything to do with a church or with God because he says Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites. How can I answer him? — M.L.
A: One answer, of course, would be to point out that we’re all hypocrites — that is, we all are imperfect, and we all fail to live up to our standards. I’m thankful your neighbor is a good person, but if he’s honest, he’d have to admit that he isn’t as good as he’d like to be. As the Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).
But your neighbor also needs to know that no one condemned hypocrisy and hypocrites more forcefully than Jesus. Repeatedly he encountered people who claimed to believe in God and follow his laws. But in reality they were hypocrites, denying by their lives what they claimed to believe with their lips. Often their religion was little more than an outward show, meant to impress others with their supposed piety. Jesus said, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of … everything unclean” (Matthew 23:27).
Often, however, I’ve found that people who use this as their excuse actually have other reasons for staying away from the church or Christ. Pride … a desire to run their own life without any interference from God … a particular sin they don’t want to give up — any of these may be their real problem.
Pray for your neighbor, that God will convict him of his sin and his need for God’s forgiveness and goodness. And pray too that God will help you be an example to him of Christ’s love and peace and joy.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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