Sometimes we have to say it even when we cannot expect a chorus of “Amens” from the brethren.
We all seek affirmation from the group in one way or another. And desiring that commonality of purpose isn’t wrong but letting that desire sway our words and the direction of our lives is wrong — very wrong.
And it is not good for the group. Going along to not face the displeasure of our peers is neither love nor righteousness.
This is where an understanding of the glory of God helps us find our way. Speaking or doing what is right before God even though we face possible rejection and hostility from our social network, be it the Church, the Moose Lodge or the AMA, is at least part of what it means to live to the glory of God.
The abstract is that we give God the highest possible honor, that we worship him as God and that we give thanks to him.
Working that out in our lives means that often the “amen” or praise of people is withheld but that we know we have God’s amen. As Christians we too often seek the “amen” of our peers, or we gain our strength through the approval of those closest to us.
We are willing to face the enemy but not apart from our group.
And so, if we don’t hear the amen of the brothers, we succumb to the pressure and yield to the group even when we know the group is wrong.
We sometimes think that we are standing alone with God when we are not. We are standing apart from God but with the group.
I remember a man whom many would consider a spiritual leader who was under the influence of the “bad power person” at a church I pastored. The “bad” man was very manipulative and when faced with a difficult decision the “spiritual leader” caved to his pressure. “He’s the closest thing to a brother I’ve ever had,” said the “spiritual leader.” And he knew that if he crossed this man, he would also be rejected and the object of this man’s revenge as I had been.
In his mind (intellectually and biblically) he embraced the abstract — Glorify God as God and give him thanks!
But he had not worked it out in his life. He was so unfamiliar with the “Amen” of God that he preferred instead the approval and the “amen” of his friend and the prestige of being a “spiritual leader.”
(Romans 1:21 NIV) For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(Romans 1:25 NIV) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.