How to Become a Hypocrite

So you want to be a hypocrite … If you believe the gospel, you’re at a disadvantage. You may not ever achieve the elite-level hypocrisy we find in Matthew 23, which probably requires a Pharisee-like depth of unbelief. But don’t be discouraged. Even believers can achieve several forms of high-quality hypocrisy.

Since all humans lapse into hypocrisy from time to time without even trying, I’m confident that, with just a little work, even you can achieve a noticeable level of expertise.

Here’s how.

1. Get very comfortable with inconsistency.

Hypocrisy is more than inconsistency. True, in Matthew 23:3 Jesus faults the Pharisees because “they preach, but do not practice.” But consider the inconsistencies of Jesus’ hand-picked twelve. They were not consistently believing (Matt. 17:20, 14:31; John 20:25), or consistently compassionate (Matt. 19:13). They were certainly not consistently humble! (Luke 22:24, Matt. 26:33). But Jesus never called them hypocrites.

So, though it’s common practice to cherry pick perceived inconsistencies in others’ lives and call it hypocrisy, you won’t achieve the real thing unless you’re aware of your inconsistencies and get very good at rationalizing them away — maybe even coming to see them as virtues (1 Cor. 5:2).

2. Judge others by a higher standard than you judge yourself.

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. (ESV, Matt. 23:4)

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