What is it like to be a hypocrite?
I wish I could act like I don’t know, but in reality I can give you a first-hand account of what that word means. Why? Well I’m actually convinced I am a hypocrite. Probably always have been, will most likely always be one. Recently, I have REALLY come to understand what it means to be a hypocrite and in turn, I realized how much I can relate to this definition.
Definition of hypocrisy
1: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
2: an act or instance of hypocrisy
That definition is harsh. And I question even putting it on here, but I think it’s important to understand the meaning of the word hypocrisy or hypocrite.
I know a lot of things to be true. I know the difference between right and wrong and how we should relate to one another here on this earth. I also know the parts of me that need fixing, that need serious work. Because I do follow Christ, it is important and essential for me to try and model my life like His. To be more like Him every day. Despite my efforts, I always fail to a certain degree. Some days are better than others, but no day is perfect. And I realize it never will be. I know I will fail, because it is impossible to live up to that standard, but, because of the grace I’ve received, I willingly commit to pursuing a life that is pleasing to God.
“When you know better, you do better.” -Maya Angelou
I know this is true. And it’s something to remind yourself of daily, but what about the times when you don’t do better, even though you are fully aware of what “better” looks like?
The difference between what Jesus taught and what I “teach” and believe is that He actually accomplished everything he spoke about! He was perfect in every single way. Although he had radical views and perceived “unrealistic” expectations, he never once was hypocritical in voicing those views and expectations, because he completely and totally lived up to them.
I am a mere human being, incapable of doing what is good and right perfectly or completely, no matter how much I try.
This is what makes me a hypocrite. Although I know what is right and good, I often times do not act accordingly. Yet, I still believe in the ultimate superiority of those my faith and what it teaches, however, my beliefs and my actions do not match up, in turn, making me appear very hypocritical at times.
While this doesn’t discourage me from trying to do right, it does help me realize how I am grateful and completely reliant on the grace and favor I have with the one who created me.
I know He will stand by me regardless of if I ever get this whole thing right, that’s the beauty of His love and my faith I place in Him. It all works together harmoniously, exactly the way it should.
Back to being a hypocrite. I will not stop being one. And anyone who questions my beliefs and what I do will almost always give me the rundown about how hypocritical my life can sometimes be. I have these values and moral beliefs that guide me in life, point me to a higher direction. If i’m being honest, a lot of the time I do not live up to these standards.
This is why one might find my beliefs to sometimes be hypocritical. I believe something wholeheartedly and would advise others to adhere to the same standard, but it is the same belief and standard I will defy when I sin.
But, just because I am not performing at the highest standard, does not mean those beliefs and values are wrong or hypocritical themselves. Jesus met this standard he taught, and he exceeded it, in fact, he spoke it into our hearts before we were ever even aware it existed.
Just because we fail to live up to it, does not mean it is a false standard or a false belief. No credit is taken away from it’s validity, just because I am not good enough to achieve it.
The point I am trying to make, is that I will wholeheartedly accept the label of being a hypocrite. And ironically, I am sure I will continue to be one for the rest of my days. It is only when you are not striving for something higher than yourself, that you can be completely justified in all of your actions. Only then, are you truly not hypocritical.
So if I didn’t want to be labeled as a hypocrite, I could just not believe in anything. I could live my life according to my own moral code of right and wrong, and bend those rules whenever I saw fit for my own gain, or find some sort of way to live up exactly to every single thing I hold true, every moment of my life.
I think we both know that is impossible, so, I will leave you with this. As I think it sums everything up pretty well.
To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing – Elbert Hubbard
Remember to not be discouraged by any label someone can put on you. Strive for what is right, what is just, and what is good, according to whom you place your hope and faith in. Although the majority of your daily actions won’t always match up with what you know is right, you can be assured that your intentions are in the right place and your perseverance to live out your beliefs is noble on its’ own. Ask God for help. Ask Him to work in your life and show you how to be more like Him. Treat everyone you meet with love and kindness, teaching as well as showing them why you believe what you do.
Do not stop having faith in what you know to be true, and do not stop trying to live up to the standard God wants for us, even if that makes you a hypocrite.