By Burl Young
As a father, I have the above statement made to me many times. It was an attempt by my children to justify what they wanted to do by saying that “everyone else” was doing it. Of course, as a caring parent, I tried to be fair, but did not view the fact that what everyone else was doing as proof that the thing under consideration was the right thing to do. I believe that the same teaching needs to be done today in the Church, because some are basing their religious decisions on what “everyone else is doing.” This article will be aimed at that problem.
Society as a whole teaches us that the majority is right. Many times, advertisers will try to convince us to buy their product because “everyone else is.” They will cite numerous statistics to show that they rank as “number one” or that their item is favored by an overwhelming majority of the people. This may be a good thing in advertising, but it certainly should not be used as a guideline in our service to God. If one will look at how God dealt with this people in the Old and New Testaments, he will immediately see that without exception, the majority was wrong. The case of Noah and the people of his day, Sodom and Gomorrah, along with many examples of those in the New Testament are evidence of the fact that a majority quickly becomes a minority in strength when not doing God’s will.
In making specific application to the above, let us notice that just about “everyone” allows trash like HBO, Cinemax and other TV affiliates to bring unmentionable things into their homes. Things that our forefathers would not have even discussed in public, much less brought into our homes in living color (scenes of nakedness, fornication, and the complete acceptance of homosexuals [queers]) are commonplace in the living room in front of our wives, daughters and all so near and dear to us. Does the fact that everyone else is doing this make it acceptable for you to do this?
Another shocking thing that everyone else is doing, is the fact that we in the church are begging to accept into our fellowship as “ok” those people who have been married and divorced, then remarried. Unless these people have divorced according to God’s law, should we accept them? Should we ask them to repent and pray, or should we be “tolerant” of them because “everyone else is”?
In the same vein, “living together” has become a very accepted thing in our society. About six months ago, a lady came forward at the close of the service stating that she wished to be baptized. Because I knew that she was living with a man that she was not married to, I reminded her that she would have to get out of that relationship. Acting somewhat confused, she did, on the spur of the moment, agree to separate from him. However, with the course of time, she did not and continued to live within in that sinful state. We had no choice but not to accept her into our fellowship. Because everyone else was doing what she was, she felt no real sense of shame or guilt in this matter. Shall we continue to sin because everyone else is?
Brethren, the above things are difficult for us, and oftentimes we are tempted to think, “everyone else is doing it,” when we see error in our own fives or in the lives of others. It reminds me of a recent experience I had during a tax audit. I simply mentioned to the nice lady that was checking my records, that a decision she made was not fair. In a very humorous (to her) tone, she chided that she wasn’t trying to be fair, just to do her job. When things are difficult for us because everyone “else is doing it,” we should stop and think how difficult it was the for the Lord Jesus when they nailed him to that awful cross to pay for our sins and the sins of “everyone else.”
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 14, p. 437
July 20, 1989