Definition of a hypocrite:
A person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; or, a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
Professing Christians are often accused of being hypocrites, but is that accusation justified?
Yes, some individuals who identify themselves as Christian are hypocrites and pretend to be what they are not. But I believe that the number of hypocrites in Christian churches is quite small. In today’s mostly secular society, what advantage accrues to the person who proclaims his Christian faith? The intellectual elite are inclined to treat those persons as cerebrally handicapped, and mainstream culture tends to regard them as bumpkins.
Faithful Christians are acutely and painfully aware of their sinful natures. In fact, one definition of sin is “to miss the mark.” Christians are constantly striving to live up to the standards that God set for them – to “hit the mark.” Quite often they fail, and they usually acknowledge their failure and seek forgiveness. Sometimes they conceal their sin for fear of rejection by their fellow believers; but this deception burns within, and the truth usually comes out. Their faith also teaches them to forgive others who sin – who miss the mark.. Very few believers have a “holier than thou” attitude or pretend to be sinless saints. They are not hypocrites.
Some people are called hypocrites if they have beliefs that are apparently contradictory, but it’s usually a misnomer. For example, someone might say they are pro-life yet favor the death penalty for heinous crimes. That is not hypocrisy. The Sixth Commandment forbids the shedding of innocent blood (murder). Execution for just cause is a different matter, and good people may have different views on that subject.
As for those persons who have no religious faith, it seems that they have no mark – no God given standard to live by. Each individual does that which is right in his or her own eyes. The result is moral chaos. Our nation is tasting the fruits of that chaos today.
I prefer a modicum of hypocrisy over any measure of godless immorality.