Hypocrisy or Simulating?

      By New Christian Bible Study Staff

Redware pottery jar, painted white rings, broken and repaired. New Kingdom. 31.5 cm, UC18432 (Petrie Museum)

Sometimes, when someone doesn't live up to their professed standards, we think "there's another hypocrite." Is that fair? The answer is: It depends.

We're all born with a mixture of loves - some for good things, and some for evil things. We're supposed to shun the evils, i.e. stop doing them. If we stop doing them, we're essentially making room for the Lord to flow in with good loves. The good loves, as they flow in, become the center of our new lives. The evil loves don't really go all the way away, but they're pushed to the side.

Does this happen all at once? No. It takes lot of practice - sustained effort - to really root out deep-seated loves. If someone is really trying, for example, to stop having a bad temper, and they fail, and lose their temper - are they a hypocrite? What if they're still feeling really angry inside, but are covering that up, trying to act more patient? Is that hypocritical? Not really. It's a necessary part of the process of squashing bad habits.

It's like the saying, "fake it till you make it". A New Christian term for this is "simulation". In Marriage Love, Swedenborg writes about the need to simulate love in marriage, even when you aren't feeling it. The feelings are bound to be a roller coaster ride, and simulating love helps keep the marriage warm even when the real feeling might not be so good.