Bible Reading: 2 Peter 3:17-18
Grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
Mrs. Gustafson had made third grade Carli’s best year of Sunday school. First off, she picked Carli to be the donkey in the Christmas play-which doesn’t sound so great unless you know that the donkey narrated all the action. Carli still shows off the clay cross she molded that year. And Mrs. Gustafson was the one who helped Carli really understand what it means to trust Jesus. Now that Carli is a little older, she works each week as Mrs. Gustafson’s Sunday school helper.
One Sunday when Mrs. Gustafson didn’t show up to teach, the children’s pastor came to tell her that her teacher needed a week or two off from teaching because a really sad thing had happened in her life. He wouldn’t say what. “I’m going to let you talk about that with your parents,” he said. “They know.”
That afternoon Carli’s parents told her that Mrs. Gustafson’s husband had decided to divorce her. But he chaired the church council and headed the building committee. When Carli heard the news, she buried her face in her dad’s shoulder. “I can’t believe he’d leave his wife and kids,” she cried. “He’s supposed to be a leader. He’s supposed to be such a great Christian!”
Talk about this: Have you ever been let down big time by someone you looked up to as a Christian? How did you feel?
Someday you might watch a Christian you respect act in a very un-Christian manner. You’re certain to hear someone complain that “all Christians are hypocrites,” fakes who pretend to have the right beliefs or behaviors but who don’t live up to the message they preach.
The idea that all Christians are hypocrites is a myth. Way back in the first century Peter warned Christians, “There will be false teachers among you…. And because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered” (2 Peter 2:1-2). But one person’s hypocrisy doesn’t mean all Christians are fakes.
When we learn that someone is a hypocrite, we feel upset. There’s one good thing about that: It makes us run to Jesus. He never lets us down. And getting close to him is how we make sure we aren’t the ones who disobey God and make our faith look foolish. After all, God has the power to “keep you from stumbling” (Jude 24). And that’s great news!
TALK: When have you been disappointed by a Christian leader? Who can you look up to as an example of living close to God?
PRAY: Pray for the Christian leaders in your life—that they would stay faithful to God.
ACT: Let your pastor or another leader at church know that you are praying for him or her.