TODAY'S WORD 4U 2DAY
KINGDOM CULTURE (2)Exodus 23:2
‘Do not follow the crowd…’ Exodus 23:2 (NIV)
We all know what it feels like to want to fit in, don’t we? Sometimes it can even make us do things we end up regretting. This next story may be hard to read for some of you, we’re including it because we think this lesson needs to be learned…
Mark D. Roberts writes: ‘In [high school], a boy named Andrew…was the classic nerd: overweight…thick glasses…skin so white it seemed he’d never been outside. One day some of the boys began teasing Andrew and making fun of his appearance…I saw the pain in his eyes and knew I should tell the other guys to knock it off. But I saw an opportunity to be aligned with the in-crowd. So I joined in…adding my taunts as Andrew began to cry…In my heart I knew I’d done a terrible thing…Sometimes the temptation to “follow the crowd” is almost more than we can bear. We crave acceptance to such an extent that we do what we know is wrong so others will like us. This is true not only for insecure…boys [in high school], but for just about everybody. It’s hard to stand up to the crowd.’
Allowing anyone to feel unworthy or unloved for a cheap, non-lasting popularity hit (or maybe even just to “not have it be me who gets targeted”), is not okay. It’s not how Jesus lived, it’s not how He wants you to live, and if it’s you, inside, you probably already know it.
Jesus was never led or swayed by other people’s thoughts and opinions. Even His critics acknowledged, ‘We know you are a man of integrity…You aren’t swayed by [others]’ (Matthew 22:16 NIV) When you truly know who you are in God, being desperate to impress that insecure, nasty type of crowd, is a concern that just fizzles out. Knowing His love for you frees you from needing second-best scraps of respect from unrespectable crowds. And if you feel like Andrew in the story, praise God that knowing His love is knowing a shield all around you to defend you from empty taunts!
Two massively useful readings to drive this home: Psalm 3 (it’s only short!), and Ephesians 2:1-7. You should also check out the articles in this issue that touch on this. Pray today that God will show you how you can be of help to others and for strength when it may mean going against the crowd.