The Double Standard

‘…the way of the wicked is like total darkness.’ Proverbs 4:19 NLT

The Bible says: ‘The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.’ (Proverbs 4:18–19 NLT)

In 1966 Dr. Joseph Fletcher published a book which became a best seller. It was called Situation Ethics. In it he said love was the only standard for determining right from wrong. The result was ethical chaos. Why? Because it allowed us to set our own standards, which changed from situation to situation. And to make matters worse, it’s our natural inclination to go easy on ourselves, judging ourselves according to our intentions while holding others to a higher standard and judging them based on their actions. For example, someone who cheats on his taxes or steals office supplies still expects honesty from the company whose stock he buys and the business clients he deals with. That’s what’s known as the double standard. It’s easy to get disgusted with people who fail the ethics test—especially when they’ve wronged us. But it’s a lot harder to make ethical choices in our own lives.

Understand this: when you operate on the edge of honesty, you invariably go over that edge! It may be possible to fool people for a season, but your deeds always catch up with you. Just as someone may appear to profit temporarily from dishonesty, being truthful may sometimes look like a losing proposition. But both your pleasure and profit will be short-lived, because ultimately we’ll all stand in judgment before God—and how will you look then?