I Must Fit in with the Crowd
. . . Those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 11:9-10
My first two years of medical school were spent mostly in the classroom, where I had a thousand questions. I had no medical experience and whenever we talked about the clinical application of the science we’d learned, I was lost. I’d never spent any time in a hospital and so, I simply didn’t understand the language they used. I rarely asked questions though because it seemed like everyone around me already knew everything. Asking would have exposed my ignorance and I didn’t want to look stupid. So, I went along with the crowd, pretending that I knew what we were talking about. I later realized that there were a lot of others who felt like I did. We all just assumed that everyone else knew what was going on though, and so we went along, pretending to fit in.
Most of us can identify with this. We don’t like to be different, just to stand out from the crowd. There are those who seek radical individualism, but most of us simply like to go along, get along, and fit in. It’s comfortable. There’s safety in numbers. So, our world view, our opinions, and our faith, are often shaped by the majority opinion around us. Depending on whom we spend our time being influenced by then, we can be pushed in radically different directions. The problem of course, is that majority opinion, or the crowd, isn’t always right.
In today’s passage, Jon shared his prophetic vision of two prophets, who seem to represent the church, which will one day be attacked and killed by the world. The world will celebrate the death, treating the event as a holiday. The prophets spoke the will of God, which antagonized most of the population and so, when they were dead, the world rejoiced. The majority opinion though, was terribly wrong.
As Christians, it’s easy to see today’s passage as a warning against the woke philosophy of today – which it is. But it’s also a warning to us in the church. Unfortunately, the popular church crowd can be wrong as well. Anytime we follow the crowd, just to fit in, we risk losing our way. Daily, we must look, not the popular opinions around us, but to God and his will. Daily, we must ask what he wants from us. Then, even if that means standing out from the crowd, we must follow what we know to be right and true. The popular crowd – whether it’s the world or the Christian one – isn’t always right.