French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is a terrific track and field athlete. He took second at the Beijing Olympics and first at other competitions in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. This week, Mekhissi-Benabbad won the gold in the European Championship’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. However, instead of celebrating his victory, he reacted in a ridiculous way. He walked directly over to the mascot, slapped a gift bag out of her hand and proceeded with a two-hand shove. Inside this mascot was an innocent and unsuspecting 14-year-old girl. At this point Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad went from being the gold medal winner to being an absolute loser in record time.
No matter what reason or excuse he would give, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad showed a lot about his true character after winning that race. This got me thinking. This doesn’t just happen with stuck-up professional athletes and celebrity divas; this happens in nearly every congregation. In the bright lights of the auditorium people smile, are complimentary, and act Christ-like. However, some of these same members are the gossips or those who cause divisions and inappropriate controversies over little details and minor disagreements. Members who are guilty of such hypocrisy, like the French runner, quickly go from being winners to losers.
Christ often preached against hypocrisy (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16; 7:3-5; 15:7-9, 23:13, 15, 25-30; etc). Many other Scriptures speak about hypocrisy in regard to gossip, squabbles, and divisions (James 3:10-12; Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 13:15; etc). It is easy to become hypersensitive and hypercritical with others, but this kind of attitude brings nothing but ill feelings and division within the church. We can deceive people into thinking we are better than we really are, but God is never fooled. Let’s strive to be the same person in public and in private, in the light and in the dark, and in others’ eyes as well as in God’s. Only then will we be true winners (Revelation 2:10).