Athlete, Think for Yourself
Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Christians, for better or worse, have a herd mentality.
Oxford Dictionary defines herd mentality as, “The tendency for people’s behavior or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong.”
It often seems Christians automatically trust ideas, beliefs, and worldviews if they are dubbed “Christian” or promoted by a group of Christians.
We should know from history that blindly following a group of self-professing Christians may lead to doing the opposite of what Jesus wants. Think of the Crusades, the Transatlantic slave trade, and more.
While it’s true we are one body and Jesus desires unity among the parts, we have to think for ourselves.
We have to be able to weigh ideologies and behaviors against the Scriptures for ourselves, because sadly it’s often not done honestly for us by our leaders and spokespeople.
College is the same way. You have to decide for yourself how to think and live, rather than mindlessly adopt the views of people around you.
This can be applied to sports too. There used to be a prevailing idea about how to do the high jump, until Dick Fosbury did it backwards, which is now seen as the right way.
Doing things backwards and countering a culture can leave us feeling lonely and aloof. That’s the appeal of the herd mentality. It prevents us from feeling things we don’t want to, like loneliness, and gives us feelings we want, like belonging.
So, why not just join the crowd so you don’t feel lonely? Because Jesus didn’t buy into the herd mentality and He called you not to buy into it either.
If Jesus blindly went along with people and did what they said, He would’ve shunned the Gentiles, called down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village, and gotten down off the cross.
You can have a look for yourself in the New Testament how many ungodly requests Jesus received from people who were supposedly following God.
Athlete, you are an individual and you belong to a community. Part of being a valuable member in a community is not blindly going along with the group, especially when they are astray. The group may not want you, but they need you.
God has a history of calling out people among His people who don’t blindly accept the popular opinions of His people. They are called prophets and that doesn’t mean they only tell the future. That means they tell it how it is.