One of the causes of conflicts is hypocrisy. It is always easy for everyone to point out the mistakes of others and not see his/her own. Also, many people think they are better than others whose flaws are exposed because their own closets of skeletons are not discovered yet.
The danger is sometimes we are not aware that we have become hypocrites already. For instance, we may think gossiping is just a small, harmless thing but actually, we are already making a feast out of the mess of others. Or maybe we are fond of making comments on others’ lives and behaviors–like we are critiquing a book.
Here are 17 ways that can help us keep ourselves in check and avoid being a hypocrite:
1. Practice what you preach.
This is probably the most popular quote against hypocrisy. Before rebuking others of their ‘wrong’ actions, make sure that what you teach them is seen in your life. This is easier said than done so just be careful in correcting others.
2. Preach what you practice.
To be safe, just impart to others what you have successfully applied to yourself already. Just avoid telling others what is right to do when you are still struggling to do it yourself.
3. Do not judge others.
Stop condemning or judging other people for their mistakes. Remember that you are not perfect yourself and you have your own share of slips. Stop finding faults in others too because you have flaws as well.
4. Do not make comments on others’ personal lives.
Even if you do not agree with how someone lives his/her life, it is not your business anymore. Just avoid making comments especially if you cannot say anything positive about the person.
5. Remove the plank from your eye first.
Matthew 7:5 says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” This means that before you try to change or correct someone from his/her ‘wrong’ behaviors, deal with your own faults first.
6. Never think you are better than anyone.
Never ever think you are better than someone just because you sin differently from him/her. S/he may keep failing at one or two areas in which you do not, but realize that you have your sins of expertise too.
7. Prevent yourself from criticizing others.
No matter how terrible a person does in your perspective, avoid criticizing. You do not want your words firing back at you one day—remember that time is not constant and you might be failing the same way without you realizing it.
8. Be reminded of your own flaws.
Before you throw the first stone at a ‘sinner’ make sure you have never sinned yourself. To keep you from condemning others, remember your own mistakes from time to time. This way you will be reminded that you have no right to judge anyone.
9. Treat others with grace like how God treats you.
God loves you not because you are sinless and perfect but because He chooses not to see your sins—but you. He is willing to forgive your sins whenever you humble yourself before Him and treats you with grace. For this reason, who are you to condemn others?
10. Love your enemies.
It is easy for humans to be hypocritical towards their enemies so if you do not want to be a hypocrite, then you need to overcome this tendency. Loving your enemy, as Jesus commanded His followers, will help you see beyond the flaws of that person and treat him/her with grace.
11. Ask God to change you.
Without God’s help, it will be difficult to be not a hypocrite. Therefore, always humble yourself before God and ask Him to help you be mindful of your thoughts and actions towards others. Pray that He gives you discernment of hypocrisy in yourself and the wisdom to overcome it.
12. Hate the sin but love the sinner.
No matter how ‘bad’ someone commits a sin, do not shun that person away. You may dislike or hate what s/he does, but you should still care about the person. Do not reject him/her and always hope for the best for that person.
13. Put yourself in others’ shoes.
Sometimes, it helps if you understand what the ‘sinners’ go through as they struggle with the shame and the judgment of the people around them. Moreover, many carry the weight of the guilt knowing they have done something wrong or hurt the people important to them.
14. Respect differences.
You may not agree based on your own beliefs and principles but you have to understand that righteousness in this world is relative due to the diversity of cultures and faiths. What could be wrong for you may be acceptable in another society so judging its people would be closed-mindedness. You do not have to adopt or accept their beliefs, but at least you can respect them.
15. Be humble.
Humility allows you to acknowledge that you are not above anyone because you make mistakes like everyone else. This truth will help you avoid judging others. It should make you more understanding and patient towards other people.
16. Do not gossip about someone.
Gossiping could be a form of slandering, which means defaming or insulting a person. As you talk about the life of others behind their back, it cannot be avoided that rude comments are made on their actions and choices. Therefore, avoid talking about someone who does not concern you in any way.
17. Be more of ‘doer’.
Instead of talking about what is right and not, just show them through your actions. Be a role model instead of a preacher. Remember, fewer words make fewer mistakes.
Co-Exist in Harmony
We cannot please everyone and not everyone can please us too. If we, humans, will always be sensitive to the faults of others, then we will not be free to be happy. Therefore, let us look at each other with respect and love—not with judgment. Let us mind our own business and show our care without imposing our own beliefs and principles.