The definition of the word “hypocrite” is: “A person who puts on a false appearance.” We all are hypocrites to some extent in that we have a tendency to project ourselves as someone other than we truly are. We all like to look like we have it “all together” even if we really don’t. Our tendency to be hypocrites can be a result of our life experiences such as childhood woundings, shame, sins, adult rejections or just good old pride issues. In order to shield ourselves from further hurt or humility, we create layers of protection around ourselves by projecting an image of a cleaner, neater, hipper, stronger or more righteous version of us. But it is a false image and what we end up creating is a pseudo personality that is shaped by our perception of what we think others want us to be.
Whoever we are trying to please, we will put on a new and false appearance for. For instance, take a kid who is abused by his parents. In order to spare himself from the embarrassment of his school friends, he creates a pseudo persona at school that says, My family is okay and my parents the coolest. Or, consider a wife who is abused or neglected by her husband. To cover up the ugliness of her home life, she presents a public persona of a totally different nature – a cover up. Her social media posts and pics portray a happy and perfect marriage, but behind closed doors, she is in pain. Or how about this one: Singles, who have had failed relationships, try to come across as the strong, I-don’t-need-anyone person. Or, they may have numerous escapades with the opposite sex, and then flaunt their “prizes” to show everyone else that they are still “okay” and desirable. But in truth, they are lonely, they are hurt and they are wounded.
As for me, I’ve got my own hypocritical persona that I’ve built over the years. It looks something like this: My childhood was perfect (but it wasn’t), I succeed at everything I do (actually, I fail a LOT), My life is all together (when in actuality it has been a train-wreck at times), and lastly, I’m very confident (but I have insecurities I don’t tell anyone about). So, my pseudo personality that I present to everyone is one that says, I have it all together and I’ve never had any issues or problems like ‘others’ do. But here’s the hitch: That is the Stacy everyone knows and loves. Unfortunately, that’s not really me, and on the inside I know that the person they love is my pseudo personality – not me. And so, deep down, that leaves me feeling unloved. It leaves all of us hypocrites feeling unloved. Get this: It is impossible to feel truly loved when you know that the real you is hidden and unrevealed and what people “love” is the pseudo version of you – the hypocrite you. The image we hope will give us a better light in the eyes of others, later becomes our ruin and shields us from what we really want – love.
If we want to be truly loved, we have to do this thing right! God created love and He gave us a definitive, insightful picture of the powerful way love works: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Ro 5:8) Think about it: while we were still sinners! While we were ugly, weak, insecure, abused, train-wrecked, arrogant sinners, true love sought us out and proved His love for us. He loves us – not the pseudo us, not the hypocrite us – the real us. That kind of love is powerful, healing, and deep and it is the only kind of love that will ever make us feel truly loved.
So, how do we bring that into our relationships with others? This is going to scare you…you must become vulnerable and let them know the real you. You must remove the layers of hypocritical facade that you have worn for years. You must be transparent and show your “sinner” self. Truthfully, we may think we are fooling others when we hide our weaknesses, but even though they can’t always pinpoint what’s wrong, others already know there is something fake about us, and that is a layer that comes between us and them. For them to truly love us, we must let them see the ugly parts. And ironically, those are the parts that endear us to them…because they are real. As the bible teaches, our humility, lowliness and imperfections attract real love that is God-sent.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” They had a deep, genuine relationship with God and each other. But when they sinned, they immediately reached for a covering – the fig leaves – and with that symbolic action they put a wall - a pseudo, hypocritical layer - between them and God. He still loved them, but they could not feel it. Covering our sins and weaknesses only puts layers between us and those that we love. A pastor once told me that many husbands and wives don’t have intimacy because they have layers and layers of coverings between them. They may be physically naked before each other, but emotionally they have about 8 coats on.
So, what then are we supposed to cover ourselves with? Part of that answer is found in the Book of Esther. Esther was amongst hundreds of women who were brought to the King so that he could choose from them a new queen. The bible tells us that each woman was given her choice of jewelry and clothing to “enhance” her beauty so that she might have favor with the King. Esther, however, wisely followed the advice of the king’s eunuch and wore only what he told her to wear. The bible doesn’t tell us what she wore but whatever it was, it worked because the king “loved Esther more than any of the other girls” and he made her the queen.
I have a sneaking suspicion that while the other girls were putting on layers of pseudo clothing, trying to outdo all the others, Esther took a different approach. 1 Peter 3:3 gives us a hint as to what this other approach is; “Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” Ahhh, “unfading beauty”… how refreshing!
The real you is an unfading beauty that will be truly loved for who you are – not who you project yourself to be. The real you will attract a love that you can feel - a love that is committed, loyal and healing. Yes, removing all our hypocritical layers is risky because it requires true vulnerability on our part and that is to put ourselves at risk to be hurt. But the alternative is a life without true love – a life where only your pseudo-personality is loved – not the real you. It’s time to be who you were made to be, not who you wish you were. There is only one you and there is a special love that has been assigned to you. Whether this love ever finds you is up to you; if you are covered by layers of hypocrisy it may pass right over you. But if you reveal your true self, true love will find you.