Everyone seems mad.
Everywhere you look people are mad and they’re taking their anger to the streets.
With signs waving and shouts screaming it feels like someone shook up the mob like a coke can and the violence is spewing out in all directions.
This is not the America of my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, there were just as many socio-political problems when I was growing up. Racism, hatred, and injustice have been around since the dawn of time. The difference is when the mob takes to the street there’s less light and more heat.
Is free speech a bad thing? Are marches a bad thing? Of course not! They are the bedrock of freedom. There is a legitimate time and place for coordinated rallies, protests, and marches.
But, before you run out into the thick of it you should be aware of the dangers of mob mentality when crowds form for protests.
3 Menaces of a Mob Mentality
1) IT AMPLIFIES EMOTION
When I was in middle school, we were forced to be part of a ritual known as a pep rally. The whole school would fill the gym. We would shout out cheers in unison screaming the praises of our football team. Letting them know how special they are and how excited we are to cheer them on to victory. I found myself caught up in the aura of the mass hysteria. Jumping up and down. Intoxicated with the energy of the room.
The only problem was I didn’t even like our football team! Heck, half of the players were the very ones who regularly bullied many of my friends. So how in the world did I find myself suddenly sitting in a bleacher shouting out cheers of encouragement? MOB MENTALITY.
You’d be surprised what you might find yourself doing when you’re caught in the crowd. It’s easy to get pulled into the energy of a mob, but a wise person recognizes the dangers of unbridled emotion.
The Bible says,
“…riled emotions turn into fistfights.” (Proverbs 30:33, The Message)
“A fool expresses all his emotions, but a wise person controls them.” (Proverbs 29:11, GW)
2) IT STUPEFIES RATION
When I was a teenager there were times I would become so angry that I punched a wall…a brick wall. Ouch! Man, I look back at that and one word comes to mind – IDIOT!
It is incredibly irrational to punch a wall or anything else for that matter; unless of course you are being paid to…in a ring…with gloves.
The second problem with a mob mentality is that fevered emotions block rational discussions. As the emotions rise the logic lowers. It is not uncommon to find protesters at a march who aren’t even clear on the issue being protested.
Amid an angry mob brandishing signs, nearly anything sounds right…at first.
The Bible says, “The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins.” (Proverbs 18:17, NLT)
Some of the issues people become so worked up over actually turn out to be red herrings. We are a culture that likes being offended more than informed.We are a culture that likes being offended more than informed. Click To Tweet
Many protesters aren’t even a part of the problem or the solution. They love a good protest! The truth is a lot of them find meaning in being a part of a movement. It gives them identity and community that they aren’t finding elsewhere.
Before you jump into a mob, do some fact-checking. Make sure you’re clear on the truth.
The Bible says, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” (Proverbs 18:13, NLT)
3) IT CRUCIFIES DEVOTION
Perhaps the saddest illustration of how wrong an angry mob can become is found on Good Friday in Pilate’s court. Just a few days earlier the crowd celebrated Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem (we call it Palm Sunday). Yet almost overnight the crowd turned from celebration to vilification.
Pilate asked the mob:
“What should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!”(Matthew 27:22, NLT)
How could a person look into the eyes of love and scream, “Death!”
I think some of them might have told us, “Man, I just got caught up in the moment.”
Thankfully, we know how the story ended.
We know that although hate won on Friday, love won on Sunday!
The crowd shows us the power of the mob.The crowd shows us the power of the mob. Click To Tweet
The cross shows us the power of the Messiah – one life standing in firm love bringing real peace.
The Bible says:
“Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:16, The Message)
God help us to respond reasonably and love irrationally, not the other way around.
What are your thoughts?