The evil we seek to destroy is part of our very identity.

If Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy empire, had had a fling with Jessica Hahn, we would not have been surprised. But the revelations of Jim Bakker’s improprieties sent out shock waves. Hefner would not have to resign his position if a past affair became known. But Gordon MacDonald, president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, resigned promptly after such a revelation.

We notice vivid contrast more than chronic immorality. Bakker lived one life on television and another in private, and the discrepancy disturbed us when it became known. But Christian leaders are not the only ones who have difficulty harmonizing their public and private selves. Beyond the outrage and embarrassment of the publicized tragedies, we must recognize that each of us engages in a constant battle to balance the public and the private in our own lives.

In his literary classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson portrays such a duality. Dr. Jekyll is a respected citizen and a prominent physician, whose only noticeable fault is a questionable acquaintance named Mr. Hyde. Hyde, an impulsive man without traditional social refinements, is suspected of murder. The book climaxes when Stevenson reveals that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person. Jekyll explains, “… when I reached my years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life.”

The story is fiction; the syndrome is not. No one is exempt from the subtle pathology of the Jekyll/Hyde syndrome. A father screams profanity at his children when they act irresponsibly. A mother loses control and strikes her children in anger. A young ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: