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I was a naughty child. Once my mum told me off, and I pointed out she had done the same thing herself. She replied: ‘Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you. It is for your own good.’
Double standards? We face them again and again.
A teacher corrects a child for doing something the teacher has also done. A boss criticises a worker for an unavoidable error. A law officer takes a bribe. A cashier short changes a customer…I could go on.
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard remained a Christian all his life, but was very critical of the church in his day for its double standards.
As we approach Easter, I think of how the crowds who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, pulling branches off the trees to wave, shouting ‘Hosanna’ so enthusiastically, were largely the same crowds calling for his blood only days later when they called ‘Crucify’. How could they turn so quickly? Where was their integrity?
Some just followed the crowd; others feared Jesus was challenging the accepted order, so better get rid of him for the greater good.
If we face betrayal, injustice, double standards, how do we react? Revenge, get our own back? That is a very natural reaction, but the consequence is to prolong the bitterness, perhaps ramp up the situation.
Jesus asks us to step back, to ‘turn the other cheek’ (Matthew 5:39), to suck up the injustice, the double standards, and let peace rule.
Impossible? Well, that is what He did at the cross, and because of Him, I think it is possible.
I don’t always get it right in my life, but ‘don’t do as I do (in my worst moments), do as He tells you’. In the long run, it is for your own good.
Reverend Steve Fulcher, Church of Scotland, South Kintyre Team Ministry.