In my Bible reading one day, I came upon the account of Pilate asking the crowd which of the two prisoners, Jesus or Barrabas, they would like released. Just the week before, the crowd was praising Jesus with palm branches. The crowd selected Jesus. (Matthew 27:15-23; Mark 15:6-15)
I believe it was my sixth-grade class that has forever impacted me about following the crowd. We all were given a directions test to test our ability to follow the directions.
Although, the very first direction in this test instructs us to read all the way through first, which I did, but since everyone seem to be doing all the things on the test, I followed suit. We all got it wrong!
This one lesson has made me more cautious to think for myself, question everything regardless of the crowd. This is not easy.
It’s not easy because sometimes the crowd may swell in fervor and drown out any competing thoughts and opinions. This mob mentality swallows those who are less apt to check the facts first, but are persuaded by the fervor.
While I may not land on the right side of an issue, it should not be because I have not given thought and consideration to the issue at hand.
The Bible says that we should be fully persuaded in our own mind. (Romans 14:5) Our minds must be informed by Scripture which provides us biblical principles.
In our current political culture, the climate has been filled with divisiveness, and a quickness to dismiss dissenting opinions without giving thought or even respectfulness as to how one may have arrived at that position. Instead, we ostracize and denigrate those who don’t arrive at our same conclusions, and sometimes, vehemently.
Just this week, many people descended upon Washington, D.C. at the invitation of President Trump to take their country back. I’d like to think that the masses were there to protest because they really believed that the election was stolen as purported by their leader, and had no idea that it would erupt into the chaos that it did. However, you never know what other elements or thoughts may be in the crowd. This is the reason that we must beware of mob mentality.
In a mob, one can easily lose the principles that normally guide them, and become taken up with the fervor of the mob. We are naturally followers as I learned in elementary school, and may be guided more by our peers, culture, or even a mob more than our principles.
I wonder if I were in the crowd before Pilate over two thousand years ago, whether I would be yelling “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Would I prefer to have Pilate to release Barrabas, a murderer, rather than Jesus Christ?