Do I have your attention now? –God

Dear Andrea,
I feel like such a hypocrite. I’m a 30-year-old mother of two. Never very religious except for a vague belief in God. Family and exercise are my passions. A few days ago I was robbed at home by a pair of intruders. I was unhurt but left very tightly bound and gagged, face down and hogtied, in a closet. I struggled for awhile but soon realized I’d have to wait there for three hours until my husband and children returned. I’ve always been a very competent person and being all tied up was a blow to my pride and my dignity. (As they were tying me up fear was replaced by an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment). At some point I began to pray, mostly for strength. Emotional strength. I gradually felt a serenity and was able to relax. Though my arms and legs were bound I felt very free. When my family finally arrived and untied me I made them promise that we’d all regularly attend church, but I can’t help feeling that all my life I ignored God, then ran to Him when I got into trouble. Will He see me as just another hypocrite? I still feel all

–Tied Up

Dear Tied Up,

First, I praise God that you weren’t hurt! Home owners have been shot and killed in home invasions, though what you’ve been through is certainly horrendous in and of itself. And you are far from alone in your experience. Often times, those who draw near to the Lord for the first time as an adult will do so in a time of crisis. However, the sad statistic is that most who do so forget the Lord when things get better again and tuck the Lord away in a nice box in the closet until the next crisis, in which they again draw near to him just long enough to get through it. Does this make them hypocrites?

What it makes them is self-centered people who try to use the Lord when he’s convenient and toss him aside again when he’s not.  One might consider that hypocrisy or not, but either way it’s a destructive  behavior pattern that will land them in Hell if they don’t turn from it. But I should add this character flaw is deemed a virtue when it’s candy coated with pyscho-babble, so most of us struggle in this area to one degree or another. If we fall down, God is gracious to forgive and pick us back up again.

Now, hypocrite comes from the Latin hypocrita, which was, literally, a stage actor. Thus a hypocrite is someone who pretends to be something she’s not.

Far as I can see, you’re not pretending to be something you’re not; you’re a young woman who went through a horrendous experience and in that  moment of desperation turned to the Lord and discovered His love and comfort, and a freedom that indeed transcends physical bounds, amen!

The natural inclination of someone who doesn’t intend to throw God back on the shelf until the next time is to want to share this exciting feeling with your loved ones. Hence your family finds the woman who just days ago  couldn’t care less about God twisting their arms into going to church 🙂

While such sudden changes can confuse your family and get you accused of hypocrisy, that is mainly a lie from the devil to keep you from pursing the freedom the Lord is offering you, hon. He wants you to put God back on the shelf until the next time He proves convenient, not start going to church and accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Though what the devil fears most is that you’ll then get so excited, you’ll go around sharing your testimony of how the Lord got your attention while bound in a closet and inspiring others to draw close to the Lord as well. So that voice whispering you’re a hypocrite is trying to use shame to deceive you into doing what he’s accusing you of.

The truth is, oftentimes, the reason God allows these things to happen in the first place is to get our attention. If this was God’s way of getting your attention, why in the world would He accuse you of being a hypocrite for giving it to Him? The Lord wants to be a significant part of your life, Tied Up. He wants you to turn  to Him and rely upon and trust in Him. He wants you to to choose to serve Him. By nature, we’re sold to sin and the devil, and the penalty is death and eternity separated from God.  Christ came and died in our place to set us free from sin’s bondage so we could be reconciled to Him.

By the way, the top reason the Church is often accused of hypocrisy today is that too many Christians misunderstand what it means to be set free from the law of sin and death, thus remain in bondage to sin and mistakenly call it liberty. But you can silence the devil’s accusations against you by asking the Lord to forgive you for all the times you’ve ignored Him in the past and remaining in relationship with Him even when things are going well. And if you sinecrely mean it, the Lord won’t hesitate to forgive. He loves you, Tied Up. He wants you to be reconciled to Him. If you’re going to stick to it, don’t be ashamed of the circumstances that brought you to Him, shout it out loud!

In Christ’s Love,
Andrea Graham