By Linda Wilkins
Socrates once said, “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
I have a feeling Socrates knew what he was talking about. Though this man who essentially committed suicide spoke in riddles and questions, I have to agree with this saying of his.
So, what do we pretend to be?
As little kids, we might’ve pretended to be superheroes or princesses, cops or ballerinas. Now that most of us are in college, I’m going to assume most of us don’t pretend to be Spiderman or Cinderella anymore.
Over the past several years, I’ve been hearing many people mention how Christianity is all about pretending. Upon first hearing this declaration, I wanted to argue and say nothing is wrong with Christianity. How can there be anything wrong? It’s about Jesus, right? That’s what counts.
After this initial reaction, I began thinking a little more about how people who claim to be Christians actually act. From what I could tell, many people only act like Christians; their motivations are not from the want to follow the Bible at all. It’s gotten harder and harder to distinguish between the real and fake.
This is the problem.
“Hypocrite” is a strong word, but it’s a word that bothers me. It’s like a plague in Christianity. You say the word to almost anyone in a church and they’ll say, “Nope, that’s not me.”
They might be right, but my guess is that most of the time they’re just playing the role of Christian. Hypocrisy has become an easier religion to follow than Christianity it seems. Why? It’s possible Christ’s call for self-denial in his followers is just too difficult to do.
When I came to Baylor last semester as a freshman, I thought I knew the basics. I knew what it means to be a Christian, what it looks like to be a Christian, and how to be a Christian. As my college experience progressed, I kept getting this irking feeling that something was off. Not necessarily with other people or with myself. It was just a general feeling.
Obviously not everyone is the same. However, as Christians, we’re supposed to stand for the same things. I understand there are different denominations and different methods of practicing Christianity, but the basics seem like they should be pretty universal.
One of the biggest basics I know of is this old saying: Practice what you preach. How can we, as Christians, move through life claiming to be Christians and then act like something else?
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
When we skip the first part of this, when we don’t deny ourselves, we fall into the weeds of becoming a hypocrite. Christianity is about self-denial; the authors of the New Testament made that clear.
What kind of representatives of Christ are we if we can’t even get the first part right? Sure, we can believe in him and what he did. But some sort of action for the right reasons (i.e. not for recognition, but solely for following God) has to accompany it.
Hypocrites are fakes. Christianity is becoming infested with more and more hypocrites. Does this make Christianity fake? You decide.
Linda Wilkins is a freshman journalism major from Tyrone, Ga., and is a staff writer for the Lariat.