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Hypocrisy

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Hypocrisy (Greek: ὑπόκρισις, hypokrisis hypo- under, too little and krisis a judgment, from krites a judge, from krino I judge) means failure to judge oneself according to the same standard, rules, codes, or other measures of judgment that one uses to judge other people. The word literally means to judge oneself less strictly than one judges others.

Jesus Christ cautioned against hypocrisy more often than He did against any other single form of sin. His strongest general statement against hypocrisy is given here:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)

Hypocrisy per se refers to failure to live one's own life according to the standards by which one expects others to live their lives. The Pharisees did this repeatedly, and earned Jesus' repeated criticism because of it.

When a person not only fails to live up to his own standards, but also declares that the standards shouldn't apply to him anyway because he is who he is, then he has escalated hypocrisy to the level of a special pleading.

See Also