Monday, February 19   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Is the sexual exploitation of women an issue in your city?



Michael Gowen

Judah – Double standards

Do you have the courage now to ask your teenage children, your spouse or a trusted friend if you have any double standards?

Photo: Daniel Tong

If you have ever been the parent of teenage children, you will know what it is like to live under observation. At some stage between infancy and adolescence it dawns on a child that, actually, his parents do not know everything, nor are they right all of the time. We parents continue to try to teach our children the best way to go in life, but no longer are these efforts met with uncritical appreciation, as the teenager seeks to balance our words with other, often conflicting input which he or she is receiving from other sources such as school, peers, television.

In this process teenagers are often looking for people who are reliable and trustworthy, people who lead their lives in consistency with the advice and principles that they give, people who do not have double standards, that is one standard for themselves and another standard for others. So it is inevitable that they ask themselves, consciously or unconsciously, whether their parents – up to now the most significant adults in their lives – really are reliable and trustworthy, whether they are consistent, or whether they have double standards. Of course, none of us is able to achieve 100% consistency, so all of us who have parented teenage children will have heard those words, “You told me to do such and such, but now you are doing something different.” We may even be accused of hypocrisy.

Faced with our own double standards – which is all the more humbling when it is at the hands of our own children – the temptation is always to justify ourselves: there are circumstances that you don't understand, this is a special case, etc., etc. Or in the last resort if we are really frustrated, we can tell them to be quiet – never a good option. It is much better – and often much more difficult – to hold our hands up and admit, Yes, I did not live up to my own standards on that occasion, but in future I will try to do better, with God’s help. We may feel that this undermines our authority as a parent; but actually in the long term it enhances it.

Judah was a parent who had a problem with double standards. You can read about him in Genesis 38. His first two sons were so wicked,  we are told, that the Lord put them to death. However, in his eyes the problem was not his sons, but that woman Tamar (his choice!) who had married both of them. So, one standard for them and a completely different one for her. He promised her his third son as a husband when he grew up, but he had no intention of keeping his promise; and finally Tamar realised this.

One fine day, many years later, Judah set out with his friend to see how the sheep shearing was progressing. Along the way he came across a shrine prostitute – there were plenty of them in Canaan at that time. He had no hesitation in approaching her to have sex, and she accepted his proposition for the price of a young goat. She wanted a guarantee that he would send the goat, so she took his seal, his cord and his staff. Afterwards, when Judah sent the young goat to her via his friend, she was nowhere to be found, and nobody in the area could even remember having seen a shrine prostitute recently. So he hushed the matter up to avoid shame and embarrassment.

Fast forward three months, and Judah has to deal with a family scandal that has erupted. His daughter-in-law Tamar, living as a widow in her father’s house, is pregnant. He takes quick and decisive action: “She is guilty of prostitution. Bring her out and have her burned to death!” Is this the same man who only a few months earlier had no compunction in having sex with a prostitute? One standard for her and another for him. And there the story could very easily have ended; but it did not.

As she was being brought out to die, Tamar sent a message to Judah to say that the father of her child was the owner of the seal, cord and staff that she presented to him – no less than Judah himself! He had nowhere to hide. Instantly the mystery of the disappearing shrine prostitute was solved, and he had to admit, “She is more righteous than I.” He had no option but to allow her to live; the pregnancy went to full term and twin boys were born.

Now, before we get on our high horse and criticise Judah, let us examine our own hearts. The apostle Paul has a word for us in Romans 2:21-24, and especially for those in a position of authority (as Judah was). I have paraphrased it, tying it in with the Sermon on the Mount: You who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against killing, have you got rid of all hatred and cursing of other people from your heart? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery (even if it is ‘only’ by looking with desire on another woman)?

Not only are double standards totally inconsistent with the singleness of God’s character, but ultimately they will be exposed. It may be on this earth, perhaps at the hands of our teenage children, or maybe even publicly, as with Judah, bringing us shame and embarrassment. Or it may not be until the Lord comes, when he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose even the motives of our hearts (1 Corinthians 4:5).

Do you have the courage now to ask your teenage children, your spouse or a trusted friend if you have any double standards? Now is the time to put them away for good. It could save a lot of shame and embarrassment in the future.





    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - - Judah – Double standards
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

A marriage story A marriage story

The  great love story for everyone.

Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.