Hypocrites and How to Identify Them

A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.

William Hazlitt


Let’s talk about hypocrites. You know who I mean. Pretenders. Fakes.

Definition of Hypocrites

You know that person who has made it his/her life’s purpose to look good no matter what? People who never admit their faults because that might involve personal discomfort and may even involve some actual honesty ? I am referring to compulsive, extreme hypocrites in this post.

A hypocrite is defined as “a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives”, according to Vocabulary.com.

Real Hypocrites

To begin with, it is important to acknowledge that none of us is perfect. At one point or another, we might have said one thing and done another. Nobody, including myself, can claim they have not been a little hypocritical at some point in their lives.

However, it is a different type of person I am talking about here. It is the person who seldom practices what he/she preaches. I speak of the serial hypocrite or pretender. It is that compulsive individual who repeatedly claims righteousness because he/she knows what it feels like to walk in your shoes.

The billionaire who pretends that he knows what it is like to experience hunger but has never had to experience or witness up close and personal the struggle to find a meal. I speak of the woman who condemns bad behavior and cruelty in others. All while pretending that her own close family and friends do not reflect precisely that behavior. She doesn’t call out the same behavior of those close to her.

Religion and Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is covered extensively in various religions.

In the Bible it states, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Buddhism and Islam too, condemn the trait of hypocrisy in their teachings.

Another favorite example of mine from the Bible is when Jesus was in the temple and watched as people went forward to give offerings in the temple. As the rich went forward and gave large amounts, a widow was only able to give two small copper coins. Jesus used this to point out real sincerity and giving. “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2012:41-44&version=NIV.

The point in the example above is that the rich gave what appeared generous to others. The widow gave not to show off but out of sincerity.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Hypocrisy is about the ‘nots’. Constantly not practicing what you preach. It is about perpetually not being real and not being true. The hypocrites’ actions speak louder than their words.

This is what I refer to as true hypocrisy.

The hypocrite cannot be trusted. The hypocrite is someone that no one should admire or follow because no amount of wealth or physical beauty or sugared words, can hide the empty, decomposing ugliness within the hypocrite’s heart.

Keeping Up Appearances

Hypocrisy is in a lot of ways the opposite of sincerity. It is the act of us constantly lying to others by our conduct. It is to indirectly mock the people one lies to, because one believes one’s true motives are well hidden. A lot of people do this on social media.

Over time, the hypocrite gets lazy about covering his/her contempt for those he or she misleads, until one day the hypocrisy becomes thinly veiled and almost transparent. It is the act of doing what looks good because people are watching.

In essence, hypocrisy is lying through actions.

The Sincere Truth

Ultimately, one cannot be a total hypocrite and have integrity at the same time. True integrity in a person does not allow any room for hypocrisy. I covered the concept of integrity in a previous post on this same blog; see Integrity. In the quest to become better human beings, we need to recognize that it is not healthy or wise to admire hypocrites or to allow hypocrisy in ourselves.

Ultimately, we need to seek sincerity, truth and authenticity in order to find true happiness in ourselves and in the world.

gloomy man with painted clown face
A hypocrite hides his true face

Photo by Christian Diokno on Pexels.com

“The hypocrite is someone that no one should admire or follow because no amount of wealth or physical beauty or sugared words, can hide the empty, decomposing ugliness within the hypocrite’s heart.”

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