Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hypocrisy

In my experience, people often tend to define hypocrisy as not living up to one's beliefs. That simply isn't true. We all fail, in some way, pretty much every day, to live up to our beliefs, but there is a big difference between trying and failing, and maybe even not trying as hard as we should and failing, and real hypocrisy.

According to Merriam-Webster, hypocrisy is about acting, about pretense, about deliberately acting contrary to one's professed beliefs, or pretending to believe what one does not actually believe.

In fact, the word comes from roots which refer to acting.

It is putting on an act in life, when people would ordinarily expect one to be "telling the truth with one's life." It is about perverting communication by communicating by one's actions something other than what one really believes.

As I said, we all fail, and we may even be reluctant to admit that we have failed, but the hypocrite is intentionally lying either with his words (I believe thus, when really he doesn't) or with his actions (I said I believe thus, but if I'm not caught doing the contrary, you'll never know that what I said was a lie.)

I suppose one might be classified as an unwitting hypocrite, that is, not being aware that he is a hypocrite because he is professing a belief that he is making no effort whatever to live out, so it would probably be good for one to sincerely look at one's self and discern the truth about one's self. And it's a good argument for having a friend or confessor or guide who can point out one's unwitting hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, not everyone who fails to live up to his beliefs is a hypocrite. A sinner, yes, but not necessarily a hypocrite.

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