Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly using this question as a lens to evaluate the world we live in. Everything from products to social movements rises and falls on this question.
- Do people like me use this?
- Do people like me go there?
- What do people like me believe about this idea?
We may not want to admit it, but subconsciously, we like to flow with the herd.
It makes life easier. A filter helps when I am being bombarded with choices. There’s also a security in knowing that my friends, or the people I want to emulate, are making the same choice as me.
But what if that choice is wrong?
Flowing with the herd is definitely easier, but it doesn’t require much. I don’t have to think deeply about my choices. I don’t have to take responsibility, either. Everyone is doing it. There is no sacrifice in saying “no.”
When someone comes with an idea that shakes up the comfort of my status quo, I don’t consider it’s merit. I just go with the flow – dismiss, ridicule or attack. We do this all the time in the church.
I love/hate this quote from Jen Hatmaker:
This is the kind of people we are. We say “no” when everyone else says “yes.” We don’t do that. We don’t watch that. We don’t vote that way. We don’t go there. We don’t include them.
Hmmm…has an ugly ring of truth to it, doesn’t it?
I read that and I want to say, wait a minute, don’t judge…but then I realize it’s true. And it’s not just true for the churches/Christians we secretly (or not so secretly) look down on. It’s true for all of us.
People like me don’t do that.
I’m not saying that we should water down our standards to make people comfortable. Truth will always be truth, no matter what cultural norms dictate.
What I am saying is that “no” needs to be about 20% of our pitch. We need to be known, not for what we are against, but for what we contribute to the world we live in. The only thing saying “no” has done is to further isolate us from the very world we are called to influence.
We have access to angels, heavenly power, supernatural wisdom, prophetic insight and most importantly, God Himself, and “no” is the best we can come up with?
We’ll never shape our world by saying no.
We Do It To God, Too.
We may not realize it, but we use the same filter with God.
Someone comes along (sent by God) talking about how being a Christian is about vulnerability and warfare, or about how going first requires sacrifice, and I ask myself: “Do people like me do that?”
Saying no is definitely easier. Coming up with a list of reasons why people like me don’t do that is a whole lot easier than digging deeper into my pursuit of God.
- It means I have to shut off my mind that is so easily distracted and loves to reason.
- It means I have to push past my comfort and my fear of vulnerability to pursue the parts of God that I don’t understand.
- It means I need to work, but not the way that everyone else does. Being better at the game everyone plays doesn’t give God the glory He deserves.
- It means I will stand out, but not in ways that make me popular….especially with my Christian friends.
- It means embracing warfare when my generation is embracing peace.
- It means I need to worship when I don’t want to, in ways I don’t want to.
- It means I need to care about people I don’t understand and I don’t agree with.
- It means I have to suspend my judgments.
- It means I have to evaluate just how kind I really am.
- It means I need to sacrifice.
I really don’t like that list. It makes me uncomfortable.
But Jesus didn’t suffer a brutal death so that you and I could be comfortable. It wasn’t so we could have a nice family attending a nice church that never ruffles anyone’s feathers.
If that’s all we attain, we’ve sold Him short.
Going first requires sacrifice.
The sad truth is that most of the people around us won’t make that choice. They’re good people living good lives. But when the idea of sacrifice comes up, they look around and say “people like me don’t do that.”
Cultural change always starts on the edges. Someone has to go first. Someone has to make the sacrifice.
Does someone like you do something like this?