noun1.a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs,principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess,especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.2.a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements."
In my experience we Catholics are the first ones to use this term - on other Catholics. I'm sure you've heard it, "isn't she is a hypocrite! One minute she's praying in Church and the next she's outside arguing with the neighbor," or "What a hypocrite he is! He actually runs a Church ministry - and I heard him yelling at another driver before he left the parking lot!"
EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THIS EARTHI submit one thing I know for certain about every human being on this planet: we're all human. We are all imperfect and we will all fail at one thing or another - even with the best of intentions. Is there a such thing as a phony, a fake . . . a true hypocrite? Sure. But I suggest it's not quite as often as we think.
Why are we so hard on one another - so quick to condemn? Perhaps we should cut that person - ourselves/our spouse/friend/neighbor - a break. Human beings make mistakes - that's how we learn!
I invite you to try an experiment: the next time you are tempted to to label someone a hypocrite - stop for a second and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you. Try to remember that much like yourself - this is another person on a journey - someone who is making mistakes and hopefully learning from them. When we exercise the virtues of patience and forgiveness not only do we ourselves grow - we allow room for others to grow as well. And remember the adage "The Church is not a resort for saints, it's a hospital for sinners." Friend, that is each and every one of us.
I dashed this blog off quickly lest the day go by and it fall by the wayside. I pray this little insight proves fruitful for somebody - as it does for me. Please forgive me if it's not perfect. I'm only human . . . after all!