My friends are generally a peaceful lot, not given to violence or vitriol. Except when it comes to moral hypocrisy. Josh Duggar and Bill Cosby, for example, have been spared no sharp word or hurtful threat for purporting to represent the high ground while dragging themselves through all manner of despicable behavior.
There is, I suppose, an appropriate level of disgust and perhaps even Schadenfreude when people fly high at others’ expense only to flame out so spectacularly. But hypocrisy hits far closer to home for most of us. You may know that the original meaning of this word was as a synonym for “actor.” And which of us, for a variety of reasons and from a range of motives, does not “act out” big chunks of our lives? What are our Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feeds but carefully curated tableaus of what how we want to be perceived by the outside world? In a professional venue, what are our LinkedIn profiles or the saccharine personae we assume when we are out on a big sales call?
These are not deceitful or despicable behaviors on the order of drugging young women or cheating on our spouse, to be sure. But they are a form of hypocrisy, nonetheless. So what am I saying – that some hypocrisy is OK, or that we should be careful at pointing a judgmental finger? I guess a little bit of both, as well as an appeal to appropriately express ourselves a little bit more authentically, to remember to celebrate those who are true to their real and messy selves, and to be thankful for relationships within which we are free to be our own true and messy selves. Real, non-hypocritical behavior is rare and to be cherished, indeed.