Today, as throughout all of history, the child of God faces and must face the problem of conformity. Conformity implies agreement, accord, harmony, doing in Rome as the Romans do, swimming with the stream, following the fashions. The temptation for the Christian is to conform to the standards and ideals set up by the world which are in direct opposition to the standard of God’s Word. This conformity to the world reveals itself in our speech, dress, hair style, actions, and in the entertainment we seek out.
It is not the purpose of this article, however, to belabor the issue of conformity but rather to consider our method of justifying our conformity to the world. This justification is frequently expressed in the words “Everybody does it.”
When did you last use this expression to justify your long hair, short skirts, going to the movies or any other such action promoted by the world? “I may do it because everybody does it.” Surely you’ve used this expression, heard it uttered or given thought to using it. Perhaps you’ve used it without thinking. If so, listen to what Christ says in Matthew 13:36-37, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Again, maybe you wish to plead ignorance but don’t forget that willful ignorance is not ignorance at all in the sight of God.
Consider a moment before reading on, the question, “What is wrong with using the phrase ‘Everybody does it?’ ” Try for a moment to come up with some specific objections.
It is true that there are a few instances where this expression may be legitimately used. It is true that everybody eats, everybody breathes, everybody sins and everybody dies. In these cases we eat, sleep and breathe because we have to live; not because everybody does it. We sin because we are by nature totally depraved and because we have fallen from the state of righteousness, not because everybody does it. We die for it is the penalty for our sins, and not because everybody does it. It is when we use this expression to justify our actions before God and man that we err.
To say my daughter may wear short skirts because everybody does it, is a case of justifying conformity to the world’s standards of dress. For a girl to say “I hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee with my boyfriend for a couple of nights because everybody does it,” is to justify actions condoned by the world. These are but two examples of many that could be cited to demonstrate the improper and even wicked use of the expression “Everybody does it.” It is unthinkable that a child of God would persist in using this expression to justify worldly conformity and yet it is frequently heard even in our own circles.
There are three obvious objections that should be considered before we use this phrase.
In the first place the expression “Everybody does it” simply is not true. Everybody does not wear indecent clothing in order to attract the leering eyes of the world. Everybody does not hitch-hike with a boyfriend or girlfriend to a far away town or city where they are free from home supervision. Everybody does not go to movies, or have television, or wear long hair, or paint their faces. “Everybody does it” is a lie.
In the second place, to use the expression “Everybody does it” is illogical. Following this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion it would then be true that if everybody committed murder then murder would be alright; if everybody read pornographic literature then reading pornographic literature would be the proper thing to do; if everybody condoned birth control and abortion then that too would be perfectly alright. This type of wisdom is worldly wisdom and is becoming more and more prevalent in the world today.
Finally, such reasoning is anti-Scriptural. Paul in Romans 12:2 admonishes “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” When God renews our minds through regeneration, we should no longer seek the things of this world nor try to justify our worldly conformity. But rather we must attempt to do that which is good and acceptable before God.
In conclusion, be warned rather than justified if it seems to you that you are doing what everybody else is doing.