One of the most common accusations we see online (on social media now, and on forums and blogs before that) is hypocrisy. Often, that accusation is true and necessary. In some cases, though, there is no “hypocrisy” and the accusation of “hypocrisy” is a smoke screen to hide from inconvenient facts or uncomfortable arguments. We need to develop the judgment needed to separate this from real hypocrisy.
Real hypocrisy is when someone excuses behavior that violates the standards or principles he has previously advocated – behavior by himself or by a public figure he is defending.
But often the best person to tell you not to do something is the person who has done it and regrets it now. When someone warns others away from a bad behavior he has abandoned, that is not hypocrisy. That is someone who has learned a lesson and cares enough to try to keep others from making the same mistake and suffering the same consequences. What is the harm in listening to that wisdom?