Best of Daily Reflections: Don’t Follow the Crowd
“You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.”
I’ll never forget an experience I had while in junior high school. In my science class was a boy named Andrew. He was the classic nerd: overweight, wearing thick glasses, and having skin that was so white it seemed he had never been outside. One day some of the boys in class began teasing Andrew, making fun of his appearance and general geekiness. I saw the pain in Andrew’s eyes and knew I should tell the other guys to knock it off. But I was also rather nerdy and saw an opportunity to be aligned with the in-crowd. So I joined in the fun, adding my taunts as Andrew began to cry. Soon he ran from the room in tears as everybody laughed. But, in my heart, I felt a deep sorrow. I knew I had done a terrible thing by going along with the crowd. It took a long time before my friendship with Andrew was mended.
Sometimes the temptation to “follow the crowd in doing wrong” is almost more than we can bear. We crave the acceptance of others to such an extent that we can often do what we know to be wrong simply so that others will like us. This is true, not only for insecure junior high boys, but also for just about everybody. It is hard to stand up to the crowd as we stand for what is right.
Exodus 23:2 reminds us, in blunt language, to avoid joining the crowd in wrongdoing. It calls us to right living and truthful speaking, no matter what the cost.
So what will help us to stand against the crowd, especially when it costs us socially? The clarity of the law surely assists our effort to be distinctive. But what makes an even greater difference is our desire to honor to the Lord. When we are “living for an audience of one,” we won’t be swayed by what’s popular. Rather, we’ll want to do that which God desires, no matter what others might think. And God, by the Spirit dwelling within us, will empower us to follow, not the crowd, but Jesus.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you been tempted to follow the crowd into doing wrong? What helps you to stand against what is wrong in order to honor God?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, even today my heart aches when I think of that day I joined the crowd to make fun of Andrew. Unfortunately, I’m sure there are dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of times since then when I have compromised what I know to be right and true for the sake of my popularity. Forgive me, Lord, when I have cared more about the approval of others than about your approval.
Help me, gracious God, to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. Give me courage to stand with you when others oppose you. May my desire for you be stronger than my need for any human approval. Amen.