Proverbs 20:9,10 “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin.’? False weights and unequal measures the Lord detests double standards of every kind.”
How often have you said to yourself or others; ‘Wow, how can people be like that!’ It really doesn’t matter what behaviour or action you’re referring to because the reality is – you’re judging. People can be any way that occurs to them. There is a very wide base of variability in human behaviour and in a world without any real standard practically anything goes.
As Christians we shouldn’t wonder how others ‘can be like that’. The apostle Paul warned us not to judge those outside the church; “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth.” (1 Corinthians 5:12,13) And yet we in the church often slide into this judgment through an attitude of smug self-righteousness. Quite forgetting that Jesus gave us a mission to the hurting world; “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
And this is exactly where the church has fallen. Over the centuries since Jesus gave us this mission the church has sought too much friendship with the world. Many false gods have become enshrined within the church such as love of prosperity, worldly philosophy and bureaucracy. The demarcation between the church and the world has blurred and faded to such an extent that even for those who profess to be Christians can not distinguish themselves from those who don’t. And more importantly, those outside the church cannot see how those within are any different from them. To their ears our preaching has the ring of hypocrisy.
Scripture clearly describes this double standard; “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Romans 2:1,2,3) And yet far too many in the church don’t realize that much of the New Testament is written specifically to those within the church! We mistakenly think that once we ‘sign up’ we can do no wrong!
God is speaking to us – those in His church – when we are chastised: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’”? (James 4:3,4,5) No wonder the power of the Gospel has been emptied out of our prayers and life. We ask – where is the Spirit? And God asks why aren’t you coming to me?
The Lord detests the double standards of the worldly church. Revival will come but only when it is preceded by repentance – not our neighbours’ but ours; “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (1 Chronicles 7:14) Folks, that’s not them – that’s us!