This verse reminded me of the old saying, “monkey see, monkey do” which then led me into researching mob mentality. Mob, herd, or pack mentality describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational basis. Just as sheep blindly follow the flock no matter where they go just because that’s what the flock is doing, people tend to take up the behaviors of people around them. (Think of a big sporting event with lots of alcohol and passionate fans.) In a large mob, personal responsibility wanes as we lose self-awareness and we become more willing to engage in dangerous/risky behaviors. Also in a large group there’s more physical anonymity which can lead to the lax of social inhibitions. But this verse tells us not to imitate what we know is not right…rather, to say No and not apologize for our decision. For just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right.
Fear of the unknown…it seems like the entire world is reacting. So how can we as Believers respond the most appropriately to it? First, let’s ask ourselves a few questions. Has the Lord suddenly lost control and climbed down off His throne? The answer is no, for Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Next, do we believe in the authority and sufficiency of God’s word? If the answer is yes, then we must believe this Scripture that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of strength, love, and a sound mind…a sound mind meaning wisdom, good judgment, and prudence. And if this is so, we must also believe Scriptures such as Hebrews 2:51 that exhort us to not give in and become a slave to fear. Finally, as Paul exhorted Timothy to lead by example, we must then apply our God-given sound mind to everyday actions, all the while praying Psalm 91 to counteract this fear of the unknown.
Humans perceive through their senses. But without good judgment constantly weighing how we feel to what’s morally right…we can easily go astray. When we allow our feelings to overrule our understanding…we jump from one thing to another with no forethought – no discipline – simply doing what feels good at the moment. But by having wisdom always in view, we will consider things through eyes of Godly insight and sensibility…not by fickle, momentary feelings.
As human beings, we have to learn some things the hard way. Growing up, we think of ourselves as invincible. We take crazy chances. We egg each other on…double dog daring…and sometimes paying for that foolishness. So as grown adults, we should have gained some wisdom and good judgment by now. But how many people do we see that just haven’t learned that lesson? Risky behaviors will eventually catch up with everyone…for no one is exempt.