We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…
– 2 Corinthians 5:20
I’m a fan of The Big Bang Theory. It’s bright, breezy, geeky goodness all rolled into one. However, there’s one character whose one-liners occasionally make me wince: Mary Cooper, Sheldon’s fundamentalist Christian mother.
Sheldon is a scientist with genius IQ who has a rational, logical approach to the workings of the universe. His mother, in contrast, is portrayed as a devout, legalistic born-again Christian. While displaying kind and caring tendencies, she frequently comes out with racist and politically incorrect comments for the sake of laughs and sadly, this is just another growing example of how Christians are stereotyped by the media.
However, a Season 7 episode REALLY made me go ouch!. Following a scene where Sheldon catches his single mother having ‘coitus’ with a man, he grudgingly attempts to make peace with it:
Sheldon: I’ll condemn you internally while maintaining an outward appearance of acceptance.
Sheldon’s mother: That is very Christian of you.
Cue laughter. Wince.
But you know, it’s an accurate observation of the cloaked hypocrisy that runs rife in Christian circles. Can we all think of occasions when we outwardly smiled while inwardly condemned?
Hypocrisy is a game of two halves. Half of our time is spent lamenting our imperfections and the other half is spent trying to hide them. (Click to tweet)
Of course all of us – Christian or not – are contrary and judgemental beings. The difference is that non-Christians, as Sheldon plainly pointed out to his mother, expect Christians to follow and uphold the Biblical principles that they proclaim to follow.
Sheldon: I think what upsets me most about it, Mother, is the hypocrisy.
Wonderfully, the writers at The Big Bang Theory included a heartfelt and honest admission from Sheldon’s mother:
Sheldon: Doesn’t this contradict all the religious rules you’ve been espousing your whole life?
Sheldon’s mother: You’re right, it does. And it’s something I’m struggling with these days.
Sheldon: Then why are you doing it?
Sheldon’s mother: Because I’m not perfect, Shelly. And that man’s booty… is.
Christians are far from perfect, yet sometimes we have a problem admitting this. In our drive to appear righteous, we can easily become Mary Coopers.
Yet once Sheldon’s mother opened up her heart, she showed how deeply torn she really is. The world sees Christians as Bible-thumping, self-righteous believers, but the truth is we struggle too. To pretend to be better than we really are fools no one, let alone God.
Do you ever stop to look for traces of hypocrisy in your life of faith? I think I need to take some time to check out the plank in my own eye.