Double standard: ‘any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another’
The opponents of Christianity are right. We do have a double standard. There’s no doubt about it. Some might not realize it or know it, but the double standard is actually taught explicitly in the Bible. The Bible teaches us very clearly that we should have a different of standards for dealing with Christians vs non-Christians.
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-12)
Did you see that double standard? If you didn’t, go back and read it again. And again. It’s right there in plain language. You don’t need a Bible commentary to figure this one out. It says very plainly that we are to hold those who are outside the church to one standard, and those who are inside the church to a completely different one.
That’s a double standard isn’t it?
The double standard is there but it isn’t what you’d expect. The term ‘double standard’ simply means having different standards for different groups of people. And by the letter of the law, that is what the Bible is teaching.
However, the difference here is that most of the time, when you speak about a double standard, it is assumed that the maker of the double standard is tilting the scales in favor of himself, not others. In other words, usually the one who creates the double standard is creating it in such a way to make it more favorable towards himself and less favorable towards others.
That is where the Bible differs. It does the exact opposite.
The Bible says “if you’re a card carrying member of the Church and you believe in Jesus and you want to be one of His followers, then we need to hold you to a higher standard. Following Jesus – like everything else that is rewarding in life – won’t be easy. You are going to have to make some sacrifices and some tough decisions. And because we love you, we are going to hold you accountable to those tough decisions. We will hold you to a higher standard.”
But to the non-believers or those outside the Church, the Bible says “We don’t judge you. We love you and accept you as you are – no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. We want you to know the love of God which surpasses all understanding and we know that once you taste that love, you too will be compelled to a higher standard of living. We don’t judge you; we love you.”
THAT’S A DOUBLE STANDARD!
If you have kids, you have a double standard as well. I certainly do. If I’m outside mowing the lawn and I notice my neighbor’s kid picking his nose, I probably wouldn’t say anything. But if it’s my kid picking his nose, I am going to shout out “GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR NOSE SON.”
Or if I see my neighbor’s kid using foul language, again I probably wouldn’t say anything. But if it’s my kid using the same language, there’s probably going to be a beatdown in the Messeh household that night.
Double standard. We all have it and so does God. It’s a double standard born out of love though. It’s a double standard which desires all to first know the Truth of God’s love and His acceptance, and then second to know the Truth of God’s law and His standard for our lives.
A lot of people out there – both inside and outside the Church – are confused about the double standard of Christianity. Hopefully this makes it clear.
If you’re on the inside:
STOP judging people on the outside and START judging yourself.
STOP holding non-believers to the higher standard and START holding yourself to that standard.
STOP yelling about the sins of the world and START speaking to the sinners who are in the world.
That is what Jesus did. And if we are His followers, that is what we should do too.
For discussion: what implications does God's double standard have in your life?