Vol.XIV No.V Pg.1
July 1977

Double Standards

Robert F. Turner

People used to ask why preacher's children were so ornery, until I began to reply, "Because they are forced by circumstances to associate with the children of brethren." I said it as a joke, but maybe it wasn't.

The "double standard" is no joke. It often plays a major role in moving preachers, ousting elders, and breaking up homes. Utopianism (expecting perfection or nothing) usually gets nothing. (I borrowed that line from Schaeffer.) How does one cope with those who expect of him moral, social and financial standards they make no pretense of applying to themselves?

We can chop down the standards, altering them to fit those of our peers, so that they no longer expect great things of us. Some solution!!

Or, we can become adept at hiding our sins... er, little weaknesses; and spend our life in hypocrisy. Better take out insurance for ulcers and psychotic depression, and, oh yes, some eternal fire insurance, if you can find it. You will not fool God, nor will you fool many people. Or, we might realize that our real problem is too much concern with what people think, and not enough for what God thinks. If we really believe His word is our standard for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness" would He not expect us to preach it like it is, and live up to that standard to the best of our ability? And if God expects this, why should not our hearers expect it?

Sometimes I fear the so-called "double standard" pricks us because, deep inside, we would like to be living like those hypocrites who claim to be children of God, but act more like their father, the Devil (Jn. 5:39 47). We squirm under God's standards, envious of those in less public positions who seem to "get by" with sin.

If we better understood God's word we would know our High Priest understands our weakness, and is ready to forgive those who sincerely strive to serve Him (Heb. 4:15-16, 1 Jn. 2:1-2). This world and her people offer no true serenity. It is found only in a conscientious service and trust in Him who shall judge us eternally.