Have you ever had the experience of standing up for some true but difficult teaching of Jesus, only to have someone call you a hypocrite because of your own failures? This is a common tactic of society and our enemy the Devil. Yet, to be a hypocrite means that you say one thing and don’t really believe it. You’re not a hypocrite to say that something is true and that we ought to do and yet come up short in living it out. This is the every day experience of the Christian life. We know what we should do, but we fail to do it. This doesn’t make us hypocrites; it makes us sinners and in need of saving.
This is what St. Paul in telling the Corinthians today. Do you feel insignificant and weak when it comes to living the faith? Good… that’s the kind of stuff God can work with. It’s the weak that know they need saving. So don’t get down about your weaknesses, and certainly don’t stop proclaiming the truth just because you fail. The work of your sanctification belongs to Jesus. Therefore, humbly admit your weakness and boast not in yourself, but boast in God.
Keep reminding yourself, “I’m not what I want to be… but I’m not what I was.” God’s grace is at work on your weaknesses. He will use your weaknesses to bring others to himself. After all, who would want to be Christian if you had to be perfect? No one could do it. As Pope Francis reminds us, the Church is a field hospital for sinners. Are you a miserable sinner whose life is in need of saving? Great… go find someone else like that and bring them along with you to meet the Savior. As the beatitudes remind us, it’s the poor and meek, the weak ones, who end up blessed.
So the next time you get called a hypocrite for standing up for the faith, remind yourself that you’re not. You’re not what you want to be, but you’re not what you were. And if you get insulted and persecuted and called names, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”