The 'Everyone Else Is Doing It' Excuse
When I was a child, I often sought to do things that I knew went against family rules. One of my primary arguments was, “Everyone else is doing it!” When my children became old enough to seek to do things that went against the rules we had established for our family, they invoked the same argument, “Everyone else is doing it!” Today, we hear well paid lawyers and spin doctors use the same argument, as they seek to win public support for high ranking clients, who have violated what many would consider basic moral behavior.
We hear this same argument in other venues as well. It is reflected in statements like the Church has lost contact with the culture; everyone talks that way; everyone cheats on their taxes; everyone lies; abstinence before marriage is unrealistic; and the Bible is irrelevant in today’s society, The implication is that a moral failure should not be taken seriously, if it is one that is common to the masses. The underlying premise is that if enough people engage in any activity, it must not be bad. When taken to its logical conclusion, this argument would ultimately create a society where morality is determined by majority consensus.
This flies in the face of biblical morality. Fortunately, God did not wait to all the polls had been taken to determine right from wrong. He did not hold up His finger to see which way the winds of public opinion were blowing. He did not need man’s input, because He is a majority of one. His principles of morality are the ones by which we are all judged. The fact that we all fall short of the standards that He has set does not alter the standards. He does not lower His standards to accommodate our failures. However, He did send His Son in order that we might have a means of being redeemed from our failures, but He has never changed His standards and He never will.
These two opposing approaches bring each one of us to a place of decision. We must choose to base our moral decisions upon the prevailing winds of public opinion or upon the unchanging principles given to us in God’s Word. If we choose the later, we must search out God’s Word to derive our opinions on all matters of morality. The former is an easier path, because all it requires is to listen to the nightly news to see what everyone else is thinking. Before anyone hastens to take the easy road, he/she might want to hear the word shared by Paul with the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment set of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (I Corinthians 5:10) When we appear before the judgment seat of Christ, the argument, “Everyone else was doing it!” will be unacceptable because every individual must answer for the choices he/she has made.
The choices are ours to make. We would be foolish not to make them wisely.