You hear a lot about hypocrisy. People act like Jesus talked about hypocrisy all of the time, but He didn’t except when He dealt with religious Pharisees. Today, Christians are afraid to be bold and to biblically counsel or tell others about Jesus because of the “hypocrisy” or “sin” in their own lives, but we don’t preach ourselves!
Can a divorced person counsel someone about marriage? Think about that for a second before you answer and read this verse from 2 Cor. 4:5: “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”**
Let’s look at an illustration. Pretend there’s a hole in the ground that you stepped in and fell. Would you be “qualified” to warn someone walking near that hole not to step there since you just fell in?
What about the person who was standing nearby and saw you fall down after stepping in the hole? Would they be “qualified” to tell others about the hole?
What about a person who heard about the hole in the ground from others and then warned others about stepping in it? Would that person be “qualified” to warn others about the hole?
Who’s “qualified” to tell others about the hole in the ground? Does it matter? Not really because the PERSON is inconsequential. It’s the message that is vital. It’s the message that one must avoid the hole because they could fall, break an ankle, or whatever – that’s what is important.
Now, look at 2 Cor. 4:5 again: “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”**
So can a divorced person counsel others? Are they “disqualified” from helping others since they’ve been divorced? It depends upon their message. If they are preaching themselves, then “yes” they are disqualified. However, if they are preaching Christ, then the message is right and they can “preach” it. They can warn others not to fall into the pit of divorce and to look to the forgiveness and power of Christ to bring change into their marriage.
Change gears now and reverse it. It’s ironic to me that people say all of the time that “it takes an addict to help another addict” but is that true? If the message is Christ, then anyone can preach it because it’s not the vessel that is important but the message and the Person of Christ. So anyone can help an “addict” if and when they get the message right!
I hate hypocrisy as much as anyone. I hate it in me first. But I can’t let my sin stop me or “disqualify” me from public speaking, preaching, teaching, or biblical counseling because the message is not MARK SHAW but knowing the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:3).
I hope this encourages you to place your faith in the message of Christ and to fulfill the ministry that He has called you to do!
Are you inadequate? Yes, but He is not! If He’s called you, He’ll be faithful to work through you by His Spirit to share His message of hope with others.
-Mark (proclaiming Christ alone)
** – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (2 Co 4:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.