In one sense, it absolutely matters if Christians are hypocrites. We should be striving to better follow Christ and have our actions reflect Him. That is a given. But in another sense, the issue of hypocrisy often becomes a surrogate for a much different claim—the Christian moral standard is wrong.
The revelations about Josh Duggar have brought to the forefront a much broader discussion about Christians and hypocrisy. (If you need a recap, here is The Washington Post’s excellent timeline of the entire situation.)
Does his criticizing the sexual behavior of others, while engaging in not just sexual sins, but criminal molestation, mark him a hypocrite? Are Christians, in general, hypocrites for so often critiquing the behavior of others, while failing to live up to their own standards?
As a Christian, my answer would be yes, maybe, and no. Let me explain.
Yes, all Christians are hypocrites.
Part of answering the question comes with identifying what it means to be a hypocrite. If someone is a hypocrite because they fail to live up to the moral standard they proclaim, then Christians are clearly hypocrites. In fact, we might be the biggest hypocrites on the planet.
The Person we claim to follow and whose live we attempt to emulate was perfect. We base our moral standards on His perfect example. And we fail to live up to that. Every single day.
But even more to the point, unfortunately, we are particularly hypocritical in terms of our criticizing certain sexual sins. We have made those behaviors, especially involving homosexuality, to be somehow more worthy of condemnation.
Not only that, we have done this while ignoring our own proclivity to sin, even sexually. There is not one of us who is blameless. From pornography to adultery, from lust to molestation, we have repeatedly failed to live up to the standard we preach.
Often times, even in the midst of this failure, we have displayed arrogance and a lack of self-awareness. In that way, yes, we are hypocrites.
Maybe, all Christians are hypocrites.
If you are speaking of Christians as being part of some exclusive club of hypocrites for excusing their own behavior or mistakes, even heinous ones, made by those within their circles, then I believe you are wrong.
This is not a trait peculiar to Christians, it’s a very human one. And it’s one that reinforces the biblical teaching of the fall. We all have succumbed to the effects of sin entering the world and we all want to make excuses for our mistakes.
Yes, Christians have been quick (perhaps too quick) in accepting the statement of Josh Duggar and seeking to move past it without being overly concerned if he truly understands the gravity of what he (and to some extent, his parents) did. But Christians are hardly alone in this.