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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “A Canterlot Wedding”

Twilight Sparkle gets it rather rough in this episode. After all, she’s the only one who spots what’s wrong with the fake Princess Cadance, but in spite of everything she keeps seeing it doesn’t seem to matter. First she’s dismissed for being too paranoid as all of her claims are attributed to “Cadance”‘s pre-wedding jitters. Later, her friends start telling her that she’s letting jealousy get the better of her, which was likely partially true. And finally, everyone dismisses her entire attempt to convince them as being born out of mean-spiritedness; enough to where she starts doubting herself.

The fact is even if you think that you’re in the right, there can be a lot of pressure to do the wrong thing. I recall back in my college psychology course that they mentioned that many Nazis put on trial for war crimes after World War II used the excuse that they were just following orders for their horrendous actions. The juries at the time didn’t accept that as valid, but later on there were psychiatric tests done to show the influence to a person’s decision-making from peers even if it was clearly wrong. In one test, a single individual was put in a room with other individuals who they thought were also being tested but were actually plants, and was told to identify shapes presented to him/her. Every once in a while the tester would give one shape and the planted individuals would clearly call it something else with perfect certainty. Even though the one being tested knew it was wrong, in many cases they would agree simply because everyone else said it.

In another more shocking test, the individual being tested was presented with the belief that they were punishing another individual with increasingly painful electric shocks for getting questions on a fake test wrong. Although no real shocking was involved, in most cases the individual would continue to “shock” the one being tested even when they cried out in pain and begged to stop, simply because the administrator told them to keep doing it without stopping.

If in such neutral and cut-and-dry circumstances people can be pressured to go against what’s right simply because society or someone in authority tells them to, either from an neutral or moral perspective, how much more in real life when there’s plenty of external reasons and justifications for it? Especially when one seems to be the only one saying one thing and everyone else another?

I get nervous whenever I try to witness to someone I know personally, so naturally I can only imagine how overwhelmed I would be if I were called like one of the Old Testament prophets. Not only were they often the lone voices in a crowd, surrounded by numerous other false prophets who claimed great things for Judah and Israel, but pretty much everything they said promised the destruction of the country for turning to idolatry and abandoning God. This definitely didn’t make them popular and they became even less so when their prophecies started to come true and enemy nations began to surround the country. Many of them were tortured and eventually put to death, and no one ever believed them but only persisted in going against the Law of God and worshiping false idols.

In view of all of that, I find it rather hard to believe that these bold individuals didn’t feel more than a little temptation to quit. As much as people don’t like hearing themselves condemned, I’m sure most people also don’t like standing up in a public square and condemning them either if for no other reason than how hated they’ll be for it. In fact, Jeremiah put it pretty clearly out there in 20:7-10…

O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.”

Saying and doing the right thing, what we know deep down inside is right, is not always easy. In fact, I dare say most of the times it isn’t. If doing the right thing was easy there would be no need to do it because everyone already would. And it’s especially difficult when one expects to find opposition on every side. One shouldn’t delude themselves into ever thinking they belong to a “Christian society”; whether you call yourself an American or anything else. There is no such thing. As Lord Jesus said in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” There will always be worldly factors, biases, and mentalities at work in a world government and its designs will never be the same as that of the Kingdom of God.

One also shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that doing the right thing will always get their Church fully behind them or in support of them, especially when Church communities start getting into the temptation to get so deeply into national politics that they gradually become just the tool of a party rather than trying to elect who will be most in tune with Biblical morals. Keep in mind that the Church underwent centuries of growing corruption due how fearful people were of defying the religious authority until Martin Luther openly went against it.

However, it’s always the people who are willing to stand up and apart from the crowd that God uses. Everyone from Abraham, who left his family and people to set out for the Promised Land God offered him, to the Christians toward the end of the Bible who endured the persecution of both the Romans as well as the Jewish leaders of the day. The people who, to paraphrase the Gospel of John, preferred the praise of God to the praise of man. And this week, it’s worth mentioning people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who show that principle still stands to this day. It’s still the lone individual willing to publicly call out something as wrong and needing to change that affects the world.

My prayer for today is that all of us will take time for our devotional life in reading the Bible and praying to get to know the “Heart” of God more closely, so that whenever we’re making a decision being in favor or opposed to something, or making a decision that impacts the lives of others, we will have a clean conscience that we will go with what God’s Will is and not our own pettiness, our political climate, or even necessarily our religious community.

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for all the people in the Bible and throughout history who refused to go along with the crowd or succumb to pressure but made a stand against immorality and wrongdoing, and as a result changed the world for the better. Help us all to actively seek your Will and know your Heart, and help us to focus more on pleasing you than on pleasing political parties, our families, our society, or possibly even our religious leaders. Help us always to be as Jesus in our decisions and actions. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”