My wife is one of ten siblings! Yes, I was impressed too. Needless to say, she is used to having people around. When we first got married and it was just us two, she complained about how quiet the house was. She would have no issue living near a main road but could never move to acreage.
Now, not all of us are used to having people around, but in some form we all need people. It’s how we’re wired. We learn, grow, and in some ways form our identity in the reflection of people. This good and healthy part of our nature can also go wayward when we only reflect the opinions and beliefs of the people around us. Are we willing to stand apart from the group over our personal beliefs, ethics, and ideas, if required?
Herd mentality is a real and powerful thing. Our mums tried to warn us about such things by asking us, “if your friends all jumped of a cliff, would you too?” As adults, however, there is no one to warn us about jumping into other people’s beliefs and behaviours and taking popular opinion as our own. Do you know what you believe? Do you have a purpose in life that is not based on the greatest period of social manipulation in history?
The biblical character, John the Baptist, was an odd bloke. He lived in the desert, ate locusts and wild honey, and his clothes were made of camel hair. Even 2000 years ago that wasn’t in fashion. He was different. Perhaps you had to be different to make a difference. Historically his job was to call attention to the coming Christ and to point out the injustice in his society. His message was unique, just like him.
People who are able to accomplish exceptional things, raise exceptional children, have an exceptional marriage, and enjoy financial freedom (which I believe is not common, but exceptional) are people who are willing to stand alone and not blindly follow the crowd. But who has time for all this? Or the knowledge? You could spend a lifetime trying to find the best way to live and waste your life doing it.
As a Christian, Jesus offers an alternative. Instead of following the crowd, the invitation is to follow him. The invitation comes with an implied invitation to stand alone… if necessary.
We are all following someone. Who are you following?
Kim Anthony is the Pastor of Life&Legacy Church at Hillcrest. Visit lifeeandlegacy.church for more ways to connect.