The Mob Mentality

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It’s pretty easy to throw stones; however, Jesus said, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).

Mob scenes are routine TV fodder: CNN, Fox News, Good Morning America, the 6:00 o’clock news, the 10:00 o’clock news. Today there’s a mob marching in Cairo to get rid of the president; tomorrow another mob is marching to keep him. The mobs are in Austin: some are there to defeat the law that restricts abortions after 20 weeks; others to insure its passage. Mobs march against Wall Street, the Tea Party, home schools and the owner of Chick-fil-A. Huge mobs gather to support Gay Pride parades, illegal emigration, gun control, legalized marijuana and spotted owls.

Wise Solomon once said, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Proverbs 18:13). In East Texas we used to say, “It is bad to be silent and thought a fool; it is worse to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The mob mentality can make a fool out of you. It’s the, I don’t know what’s going on here, but count me in attitude. It’s common in mobs. Many of those in the mob don’t have a clue as to what’s going on; but they are there, caught up in it, supporting whatever it is. Somebody’s up there passionately shouting out clichés or talking authoritatively about high and lofty ideologies. Somebody or some group is being painted asthe bad guys and we are the victims who are being downtrodden and exploited. We must not take it; we must rise up. Ours is a just cause and they are our enemies. It’s amazing how quickly people buy in without every bothering to scratch the surface. Somehow people like to get on a wave and ride it. Ignorance can be bliss. For a little while!

A mob was used to crucify Jesus Christ. Most of the people didn’t have the faintest idea of what was going on; they were simply caught up in the moment. A little group of hard-core activists were using them and they were oblivious. That’s generally how it is with mobs. Not always, but generally! Sometimes there’s a just cause, but often the movement is sinister to the core. Adolph Hitler was a master of the mob mentality. He had the mobs praising him, bragging on what he did for Germany and begging him to take absolute control. He did. The results speak for themselves. A million children murdered! Systematically and in cold blood! Six million Jews! Carnage in Europe: Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, World War 2! The Antichrist will ride a mob mentality to power.

Look before you leap seems like a pretty sound policy. Maybe the mob is right. Maybe not! Maybe those doctrinaire instigators have a just cause. Maybe it’s worth fighting or even dying for this cause. The French and American Revolutions were. Not all causes are just. There could be a bitter sting at the end of this thing. Germany learned that. The Bolshevik Revolution didn’t turn out too well. Before joining any movement, it’s wise to look. Investigate; see what’s going on. Make sure you want to get on board this bandwagon. You may not. God warns, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment” (Exodus 23:2). Some years ago on the way to a church business meeting a friend said to me, “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m here to support my preacher.” Blind leaps rarely turn out well. If you know and support what’s at stake, get on board with all your might; but never allow yourself to be ignorantly swept along with the crowd.

The majority is rarely right. Unfortunately the majority is often given to a mob mentality and is manipulated by a small core with sinister goals. That is true on multiple levels: political, educational, social and even in churches. Sometimes as in the case of the holocaust, one person is the real master-mind. Masses are used for evil and don’t even know it. There are different kinds of mobs. A mob may be assembled in some location or it may be a movement in the minds of unassembled masses. In either case people get caught up and swept along. Unwittingly they add to the success of the movement. Too often the movement has a bitter, chaotic, devastating end: civil strife, war, slavery, a church or family split and friends become enemies!

Blindness is a terrible enemy. Someone commented to a blind man,“Blindness must be one of the worst afflictions there is.” The blind man responded, “No. It’s worse to have eyes and not be able to see.” Perfectly good eyes, but unable to see! Wow! A fine mind, but caught up in a mob mentality! Unwilling to investigate, look at the facts! Content to blindly ride the wave! My friends are there. It seems right. I trust my president, my professor, my preacher. The consequences can be devastating and irreparable.

Never allow yourself to be caught up in a mob mentality. Even if you are in a mob, you shouldn’t have a mob mentality. If you are a part of a mob, be there because you know what’s going on and support it; never blindly. Yes! Some causes are just and worth giving all you have, even your life; however, many are not. The issue is not mobs; they can be good or bad. The issue is in knowing the facts, understanding what’s going on and the ramifications thereof. Think for yourself. Never ride a wave and blindly coast along on the agenda of others.