The school bell has rung, class is now in session.
When you hear the word “hypocrite” many images may come to mind. A scheming actor on a soap opera, a politician, or world leader. What does not come to mind is probably the word theater. Yes, I said theater! I remember my surprise learning this information, first semester of my Freshman year in college. Would you believe my first (out of three) declared major in college was Theater? I was quite determined to be on broadway. Starting as a ten year old, I took ballet, tap, and jazz, and as a teenager acted in a few local productions. I got an agent, and I thought I was on my way, lol.
After first semester, I decided to give up on my broadway dreams, be content on the cheer and dance team in college, and change my major again, lol.
I digress, back to the topic at hand, hypocrites. The word hypocrite, simply stands for actor or stage player.
The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks. (merriam-webster.com)
In the past, this word stood for pretense on the stage because ultimately actors were behaving as different characters. It did not gain a negative connotation until the early 1700s, 500 years after its’ original use. When it is heard now, we see it as a person who acts contrary to their beliefs and feelings depending on who they are around.
Anyone who says peer pressure is only a K-12 situation, needs to think again. Peer pressure still exist among adults as well.
Four Examples of Adult Peer Pressure
Friendship – You have a person who you consider a friend or decent individual, but if the group or certain person does not like that person, you feel pressured to start disliking them as well.
Praying over your meal – You have always said grace over your food, but when with certain people, you feel pressured not to do so.
Lifestyle Choices – You uphold certain values that may be perceived as primitive, but when around certain people you feel ashamed of those values and do not want to talk about them in fear of what others would think.
Hobbies – You like doing certain things, but when around certain people you clam up about it, because of being teased before.
These things actually happen in adulthood, and can produce hypocrites if not careful.
The solution to these issues is to be content.
Be content in your choices of friendship – If you are friends with a person, it is for reasons that others may not understand and is between you and that person. If the friendship is true, do not allow other opinions to sway yours.
Be content with your values – If you have conservative values, be proud of that. The people around you will understand if they truly respect you. If made to feel uncomfortable because of your values, consider changing your surroundings.
Be content with lifestyle choices – If you have decided to live according to a certain creed, it was probably for a reason. Do not compromise that for anyone.
Be content with your hobbies – If certain activities bring you happiness, enjoy it! People may not understand why you enjoy it, but our differences are what makes things interesting.
Where are you on the Hypocrite Meter?
We have the ability to reflect on our lives, see flaws, and change our behavior. We do not have to behave contrary to our belief system and feelings. We can become people of integrity which is the opposite of a hypocrite.
Being a person of integrity means we reflect on the outside, what is on the inside. Like an integer, we can be whole and complete. We are not perfect, but as the scripture says:
I would like to issue a challenge to myself and others.
Going forward, stop entertaining people that make you feel the need to wear a mask, in order to appease them.
Be yourself. If they do not like it, it is ok. God can and will place like-minded people in your life. Bad company corrupt good character. ~1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not become a hypocrite at the pressure of so-called associates or friends. If they do not like who you are without the mask, they certainly will not care for you with the mask.
Be content. Life is too short to continue worrying about how others feel about you. Spend more energy and time helping those who appreciate it. Do not cast your pearls before swine. This will be the topic of my next post.
The school bell has rung, class dismissed!