You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. (Exodus 23:2)
Relate: “When I was a kid…” Anytime I used to hear that I would cringe. It doesn’t matter what that old fogie is going to talk about, I don’t want to hear it. These days I have started to catch myself saying it every now and then. What happened? When did I get old? Oh well, there is nothing for it but to plow forward. So all you teenagers who might be reading this, I do apologize but, “When I was a kid…”
Image was everything. Maybe it is not so now but when I was in high school, there was a hierarchy involved in what you could call “locker room politics”. In this hierarchy I was somewhere just below the middle. I was respected by others, but I was not really admired. I was athletic but not incredibly muscular. I was a leader in other areas, but it didn’t carry over into the locker room dynamic. There was another Christian who stood fairly high up in that hierarchy since he was a linebacker on the football team. There was also that poor guy on the bottom. Somebody has to be there and this kid found himself being constantly harassed by the locker room “king”. I wanted to help… but I didn’t. Actually, I was more focused on praying that the other Christian in our gym class would stand up. He didn’t. He looked uncomfortable doing it, but he was laughing right along with everybody else… so was I.
React: Did you ever have an unpopular boss or coworker? Was there ever that someone who just doesn’t understand the break room dynamics. Some people just don’t have the social wherewithal to know how to be normal and they end up becoming the brunt of everyone else’s jokes. When you meet such people do you stand up to them or just go along with everybody else? This scripture is sitting right in the middle of two sections titled “Social Responsibility” and “A Call for Justice”. Going along with the crowd is a form of social injustice. On a personal level and as a society this is true. When I do not stand up to that bully, I am just as guilty of being a bully as he is. When we do not reach out to care for the oppressed we are just as guilty as the groups like ISIS doing the oppression.
I know, calling out that rude coworker just doesn’t seem like much when compared to the injustice of the human slave trade and my silence at work will not end up getting someone thrown into a concentration camp. But the mentality that allows those who are doing such grand scale injustices to get away with it is also the mentality that allows the victim to snap and become the next news flash shooting. These things don’t just happen in schools or workplaces, it can even happen in a nursing home. Peer pressure, locker room politics, is something each of us have to stand against everywhere, every day.
Give me your eyes so I can see the hurt and the need of those around me. Give me Your courage to stand against injustice both big and small. I am Your representative. Help me to extend Your courage into the break rooms and the locker rooms of my life.