Our world is a world of contradiction. Everyone, no matter what they espouse to believe, contradicts their beliefs in their thoughts, words or actions at some time in their lives. Anyone who claims otherwise is not being honest with themselves or others. Skeptics have a term for this: hypocrisy. And skeptics use this term like a silver bullet to try to shoot down anyone who tries to be a better person, influence others in a positive way, or make this a better world in general.

Even though I don’t like everything about the Christian religion, the history of the universal church, or even God himself (or herself), I do claim to be a Christian. To some, the fact that I can claim to be a Christian, yet criticize all parts of Christianity, leads them to conclude that I am a hypocrite. Or the fact that I do things that are not according to the Christian faith, leads them to the same conclusion.

The funny thing is, it is because I am a Christian that I am held to this high standard. This is understandable, since Christians do strive to be better people, and do try to help others improve their lives, but it is not realistic. Anyone inside or outside the Church who thinks that Christians claim to be or should be better than anyone else, is misinformed or confused. The only person that a Christian measures himself against is himself, and that measuring stick changes every day, every moment, since Christians are normal people, as tempted and corrupt as everybody else.

Another misunderstanding by non-Christians is the giving and receiving of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an easy ticket to non-stop hypocrisy. Forgiveness is the basis for transformation of all relationships. Instead of being angry, bitter and filled with hate towards others and towards oneself, a Christian chooses forgiveness instead. There is a word that Christians use that is also connected to the “how” and the “why” of forgiveness—grace.

Grace is something that is completely foreign to and rejected by many non-Christians because of the “how” and the “why”. The Christian understanding is based on belief in the sacrificial death and resurrection (three days later) of Jesus of Nazareth, whom we believe to be God, and the love exhibited by his sacrifice, which purpose Christian’s believe is to pay for the guilt of all humanity. Christians believe this sacrifice could only be made by God himself, who came to Earth as a completely innocent man.

No hypocrisy there.