The word hypocrite is from the Greek word (hypokrites), which basically means "actor." (Go check out Wikipedia, if you want to know more).
From my study, it was used to describe a stage actor who played many parts. Many people use it today to describe someone who says one thing, but does another. For example, It would be like me condemning you for smoking, but I smoked. You condemn the person not the act.
Non-church goers like to throw the term around for a reason they don't go to church, they say, "I'd go to church, but churches are just full of hypocrites.". Us church goers sometimes like to use the term to label someone who does not go along with our belief/preference system. For example, we may think consumption of alcohol in any form is wrong, so if we see someone who we consider being a christian having a glass of wine at the Olive Garden, we'd think they are being a hypocrite.
A few years ago, I was going through a "rough" time in my Christian walk. Someone called me a "Hypocrite", but I wasn't being a hypocrite. I was being a bad christian, and struggling. I wasn't coming to church and pretending to be one thing and doing another. I wasn't coming to church and judging people for things I was doing myself. I was just coming to church, barely. We need to be in church when we are hurting or struggling, but there is a difference in coming to church and playing church, that's where you flirt with hypocrisy.
There is a big difference between a person coming to church and living a hidden/fake life outside of church and pretending to be one thing at church while really being another and someone coming to church who is just struggling with life and faith. Some people come to church and never acknowledge their sinful lifestyle, while others come seeking to find healing.
There are true hypocrites in this world and in our churches. They judge, condemn, criticize, cause trouble, and live a life of denial, lies, and secrets. Then there are people who just are seeking. There are people who are going through a divorce, a death, a loss, or just tough emotions and feelings, and they are processing them, they are not hypocrites they are believers, just not strong at that particular time.
My article today is simple, know the difference between a hypocrite and a struggling or searching christian. At the same time, maybe you need to realize that you are being hypocritical and you think you are fooling God and everyone, when you are just fooling yourself. Before you start name calling, know what you are talking about, and most of all make sure you are not living a pretend, fantasy, or fake christianity.
Look at yourself in the mirror and look at your heart. If we were all honest we know the difference between hypocrisy and truth. I want to be on the side of honesty and truth and not hypocrisy, but we are all capable of being a hypocrite if we don't guard our hearts, watch our step, and seek the truth of God. Grab a bible and read Matt. 23 and see what Jesus thinks.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence."
Matt. 23:25 (NIV