Monday, October 28, 2013

Decision by majority rule? ................................ Parables 035

The kindergarten children were excited. They had a new class mate, a furry hamster. As they gathered around the little ball of fluff, one of the children asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

The teacher, recognizing a teaching opportunity, asked them, “What do you think?”

One child said, “It must be a boy, because it has whiskers.”

Another responded, “No, it’s a girl, because it has long hair.”

For a few minutes the children tossed various reasons back and forth for their opinion of the sex of the hamster. Finally, one frustrated little fellow said, “I know, let’s vote on it.”

“Kids,” we laugh. Yet how often do you and I make decisions based on similar reasoning? Not everything can be decided by popular vote. In this instance there was a right and a wrong answer. The hamster was either male or female, and voting would not change the fact of the matter. In fact, to make a decision based on the opinions expressed by voting, could not only be a mistake, it could be evil.

In case anyone should think that is just my opinion, I didn’t say it first. Jesus Christ did. He said, “You are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts — for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)

Jesus was speaking to a group of Pharisees, religious leaders who went through the motions of their religion. He perceived that in their hearts they were doing it to impress people (since people are sometimes impressed by outward form). The popular vote determined how they acted, rather than an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. God was not impressed.

In contrast, Jesus did things like eating and drinking with prostitutes, tax collectors, and the rejects of His society. He did not win the vote of the religious leaders by this, and other things that He said and did. Eventually everyone turned against Him, and He was crucified, but several times in His life a voice boomed from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He was highly esteemed by God for doing things that men did not consider of value. 

Children voting on the gender of a hamster is funny. Children following the “vote” of their peers to do drugs is not. Neither are a lot of other decisions that are based on an “everybody does it” philosophy. The trend away from black and white into a “follow the crowd” philosophy has led many an undiscerning person into tragedy and despair.

God’s way is seldom a matter of “majority rules.” Jesus said, “Wide is the way that leads to destruction but narrow is the gate that leads to life . . .  and few there be that find it.” That “few” that find it have learned not to pay any attention to “election returns” but to listen to the One who brought them through the “gate.”

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