By David Sproule
Being consistent is one of the hardest things for a person to do. When a child is in school, often their behavior when the teacher is out of the room is not consistent with their behavior when the teacher is in the room. That translates to the adult life, when behavior while the boss is out of the office is not consistent with behavior while the boss is in the office. Consistency is tough!
Parents also struggle with being consistent. It is difficult, sometimes, as a parent to be consistent in how, when and why we discipline our children. Sometimes, we are not consistent in how we handle situations. Sometimes, we are not consistent from child to child in what we allow or what we do not allow. Consistency is tough!
This is also true as a Christian, as a preacher and as an elder. Our human struggles with consistency do not vanish when we are baptized or when we take a leadership role in the church. All Christians struggle from time to time with being consistent in their behavior. We do not always behave the same "outside the church building" as we do "inside the church building." We do not always handle situations, trials or mistreatments consistently. The way we deal with a matter one time may differ from how we deal with it again later.
Being consistent is also a challenge when we are pointing the finger of condemnation and shame at someone for their behavior. Is it possible that we get upset with others for acting in a certain way, but then we ourselves do the same thing? For example, do you condemn lying or foul language in others, but you practice it yourself? Do you judge other spouses for neglecting their proper responsibilities in marriage, but you do the same? Do you denounce others for being two-faced, but you are just as guilty? Do you hold others to a standard of perfection (or at least "near perfection"), but you give yourself a pass for falling short in the same place others do? Do you criticize others for their anger, temper, racism, vile posts, hateful rhetoric, but you yourself turn around and do the same? Consistency is tough!
Read Romans 2. "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" (2:1-3). Read verses 21-24. God says, in effect, "My name is blasphemed among outsiders because of you" (2:24). If it's wrong for them, it's wrong for me!