We all do it. Many of us want to try to make our lives look better, more exciting than it is in reality. We post our vacation pictures on social media, but not any of our messy houses. When someone asks us how we are doing, we give the standard answer of fine. We don’t want to share about the recent diagnosis or the family issues we are experiences. Many of us want to show the world only the good side of our lives. So are we a sinner or a hypocrite by hiding our lousy side?
Jesus shares a story in Luke that reflects this notion of being either a sinner or a hypocrite. In the parable of the Prodigal son, we can quickly identify the sinner as the younger brother. His greed leads him to squander all his inheritance on wild living. But, can we spot the hypocrite in the older brother? He pretends to be perfect as he laments to the father that he is the good brother. He followed the rules and stayed home to help. The father, who represents our Heavenly Father, knows that all are sinners. Both sons need His love and forgiveness.
We tend to act the same when it comes to our sinful nature. Many of us attend church, maybe even multiple times in a week. We sing the hymns and repeat the prayers. And, if you are like me, you might share Bible verses and other Christian posts on social media. But, we hide our sins away. Does this behavior keep others from seeking Jesus in His church?
[bctt tweet="Are we hiding behind a mask of perfection so that no one sees our sinful nature? When we do, does it make us look like hypocrites?"]
Surveys show that non-Christians or marginal Christians say that some of them don’t attend church because they appear to be filled with hypocrites. Are we giving that impression because we try to hide our sinfulness? None of us want to put our faults on display for the world to see, but what would happen if we were a little more open about our struggles?
The apostle Paul acknowledged his struggles with sin in his letter to the Romans. Although he does not mention any specific sin, he does admit to his continuous strife. We find his confession in Romans 7:
“14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I admit that the law is good. 17 In that case, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. 20 And if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”Romans 7:14-20 (NIV)
I noticed some memes on social media comparing a church to a hospital for sinners, and this is an excellent start at explaining our true nature. Churches are full of sinners that need Christ’s saving blood. But, do we still appear holier than thou to the newcomer that walks through our doors? Do we acknowledge our sinful nature from the pulpit or discuss our struggles in the Sunday Classrooms? Do we trust our Christian community enough to share our burdens?
My Sinful Nature
We can discuss this topic about our sins for hours, but without action, it does not accomplish anything. So, let me set the example by sharing mine. I grapple with anger, especially when I am tired. This sin can cause me to yell at those around me when I don’t get things my way. Something else I struggle with is jealousy. I question why someone was able to accomplish something that I wanted to do, but I failed. I can be judgmental with family and friends when they do not act or respond the way I think they should. And as a writer, blogger, and human, I fight my feelings of inadequacies. This is not a complete list but my most common trials.
Verses on Confession
I believe, as Christians, we must become more transparent with sharing our sinful natures. The Bible reminds us to be open about our sins with others in the following verses (ESV):
- James 5:16; “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
- 1 John 1:9; “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Hebrews 3:13; “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
- Galatians 6:2; “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Proverbs 28:13; “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
- Psalm 32:5; “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah”
Sharing our Faith Through Transparency
The only perfect human was Jesus. Jesus knows us inside and out, so He is very aware of our sins. He has forgiven us for them, but that does not mean we should pretend we are perfect. When we share our failings, we shed the light of God’s grace and forgiveness for others to see. I pray for that light to attract others to seek forgiveness. Openness and honesty will fill church pews faster than the pretense of perfection. Here’s a secret, we all sin, so pretending you do not sin is a sin too. So are we a sinner or a hypocrite?
[bctt tweet="What would happen in our churches if we were a little more open about our struggles? When we share our failings, we shed the light of God's grace and forgiveness for others to see."]
Finally, here is a list of Bible verses to remind us of our sinful nature:
- Romans 3:23 (NIV); “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
- James 4:17 (NIV); “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
- Proverbs 28:13 (NIV); “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
- 1 John 1:7-9 (NIV); “7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Yvonne M Morgan, #Blogger, #Speaker, #Writer
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
100% of the proceeds from sales of my book, Turning Mountains Into Molehills, go to help the orphans at Orphan Relief Effort, Inc