Read John 8:7 and 1 John 1:8-10. The Greek word for sin is hamartia. It means "missing the mark" like when an archer misses his target with an arrow. In other words, it is the mistakes we make in life. The hypocrites in the church today would rather pretend that everything is okay in their personal lives rather than confess their sins or admit their mistakes to their fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Presbyterians know this to be true better than any other church denomination. Let me share with you a true story why Presbyterians know this to be true. I use to be a member of First Baptist Church Orlando, FL when it was downtown. I was very active in their Single's Ministry. Jimmy Knott was the Single's Minister and hand picked twelve single men to be a part of a prayer group he formed that met every Tuesday morning at 6AM. We followed the ACTS acronym on how we prayed. When we got to C, which means confession, we would all confess our sins to each other. What caught my attention was you would never hear a sin worse than not praying enough or not spending enough time reading the Bible and the like, you know, spiritual stuff. You never heard anything like, I had sex and caught the clap from a girl I picked up from a bar or I got drunk and got a DUI and thrown in jail, or I got into a major fight and assaulted my girlfriend or I went to a "topless bar" and got drunk with some old friends or I cheated on my income taxes or I cussed out a person who cut me off in traffic or I have problem with pornography or I stole some money from my employer or I plagiarized my term paper or I am addicted to alcohol or I am a sex addict and so on. Please keep in mind I had been through four years of Navy with some pretty worldly Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc... so I knew something was fishy with such superficial confessions. Since no one in this group were willing to be honest about their sins, I decided I was not going to admit I was struggling with sexual temptation at the time.
Shortly after this, I went on a church mission trip for a week to a small town in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania called Carmichaels. We were planting a Southern Baptist Church. We canvassed the whole town door to door to invite the residents to nightly revival meetings led by a preacher from West Virginia. At the end of the week we had a luncheon for all those who participated. We invited all the local Pastors from other churches as well. The Lutheran Pastor and his wife, the Methodist Pastor and his wife and the Presbyterian Pastor and his wife were in attendance. It was a very interesting meeting because we were all making light of our doctrinal differences. I will never forget what the Presbyterian's wife said that struck me as being very true about Southern Baptists. She said, "Presbyterians don't do our sins behind the barn like you Baptists do". This is when I realized for the first time what Southern Baptist's biggest sin weakness is as organized group of professing Christians. What is it?
They hide their sins from each other.
She couldn't be more right about her observation because of what I experienced in Jimmy Knott's Men's Prayer Group. Self-righteousness (the denial of one's own sins) is why we have so many "Holier-Than-Thou" types who call themselves Christians in the church today. Jesus could not stand to be around people like this as is clearly demonstrated in the four gospels. I believe the sin of Hypocrisy is one of the main reasons many people do not want to set foot in a church door today. Who likes to hang around hypocrites? Jesus and John the Baptist chose not to hang around the religious leaders of their day because of their blatant hypocrisy.
Is there an uglier sin than hypocrisy? I can't think of one.
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