Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

inconsistency and hypocrisy



I have noticed in my own life, how easy it is to recognize inconsistencies in the behavior of others and how difficult to see the same in me. Too often, we want to label others' inconsistencies as hypocrisy, a negative word which implies an evil motive and a willful misrepresentation. I don't imagine that any of us live our lives with perfect consistency, so what do our inconsistent words and behaviors really reveal about us: our sinfulness or perhaps something else.


Somewhere, I read that the most dangerous people in the world are those who are perfectly consistent in their actions, always assured that they know the right path for their lives and the proper actions for the moment. These people supposedly don't ever consider the possibility that their position can be wrong and never have to agonize over a course of action since their thinking is automatically correct and their resulting behaviors justified and appropriate. Such people are always in a black and white world which eliminates the need for careful discernment.


When we tend to label inconsistency as a serious fault, especially if we call it hypocrisy in others, we fail to recognize that inconsistency can actually be a good thing. In our own lives, inconsistency is evidence of conflicted thought. Obviously, we are not sure what is right and proper. I doubt many of us ascribe our own inconsistent behaviors to willful, sinfulness. Instead, I suspect we simply experience being pulled in two different directions in our thought processes, justifying on one occasion and condemning on another.


In that sense, personal inconsistencies should be a flag, indicating a growth opportunity, a need to reconsider previous assumptions. Which of our inconsistent actions reflects what we really believe or for that matter what is ultimately true? That is the question raised by every personal inconsistency.


As long as we treat inconsistency as a fault and only observe it in others, it will continue to be used as a weapon to defeat and destroy. If, however, we focus on inconsistencies as evidence of developing awareness, of potential ethical growth, then we turn a negative into a positive. Inconsistency is a mark of internal conflict, a necessary element in transformed thinking and behavior.