Because of them, Shirley quit working so hard and gave up trying to achieve excellence. Her coworkers said she was making them look like slackers and they badgered her for getting too much done. They told her to stop being an overachiever or they would get her fired.
Because of them, Randy bullied Jonah, a scrawny eighth-grader. He knew it was wrong but he didn’t want his buddies to turn on him so he went along with them when they targeted Jonah for abuse.
Because of them, Ishmael stopped going to church. His Michigan family said they would cut him off if he didn’t cease associating with Christians. The pressure of their Muslim culture was too much for him to walk away from even though he knew the words of Jesus were the words of truth.
John 19:16—So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified. Therefore they took Jesus away.
In John chapters 18 and 19 we discover that five times the Roman ruler Pilate tried to have Jesus released or at least make the Jews punish Him themselves. Three times he told the Jewish religious leaders, temple police and crowd “I find no grounds for charging Him” (18:38, 19:6, Luke 23:22). He had Jesus examined by King Herod who also concluded Jesus was undeserving of death (Luke 23:15). Each time after interviewing God’s Son, Pilate was increasingly convinced of His innocence and vocalized that He should not be crucified. His wife, after having a dream about Jesus, warned her husband to have nothing to do with “that righteous man” (Mat. 27:19). Ultimately, Pilate caved in to the aggressive and boisterous crowd. “But they kept up the pressure, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And their voices won out” (Luke 23:23).
Can you think of any time in your life or in the life of someone you know because of them, convictions were compromised? Peer pressure is a powerful force. Weakness is fed by concession and the need to please people.
Courage begins each moment we stand firm and refuse to do what is wrong regardless of what other voices say. Don’t be like Pilate, the hand-washing, spineless leader. Be like Daniel, the prophet who faced lions and won because he refused to stop praying because of them. Be like Paul, who bravely proclaimed, “For me living is Christ and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
[Rushworth M.] Kidder divides moral courage into three components. First, we must believe in and commit to a core set of moral values and principles. Second, we must recognize that by standing up for those principles we are likely to face danger . . . Third, to be morally courageous we must be willing to endure that danger and do what we know to be right, even if it means loss, disapproval or shame.—Steven M. Southwick & Dennis S. Charney in Resilience
©2017 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)