In the Disney movie, ‘Aladdin’, there’s a scene early in the film in which Aladdin and his newfound friend, who’s really a Princess in disguise, are catching their breath and enjoying what was becoming a romantic moment in Aladdin’s quarters. But their intimate moment was rudely interrupted by the approach of a bunch of burly palace guards they had eluded in the marketplace earlier. In the midst of the unanticipated crisis, and with no clear avenue of escape, the erstwhile young hero reaches out his hand to the Princess, looks intently into her eyes, and asks, “Do you trust me?” To the viewers’ delight, she takes his hand, and they leap out of the upper story window together. Of course, they discover that the clever animation folks had drawn in a whole series of perfectly aligned banners, sheets, awnings, and stuff like so that they could slide down unharmed and make their escape. Trust can be such a neat thing.
Trust is Powerful and Vital ~
Life is full of challenges and endeavors where the desired goal is unattainable by a single individual. In those cases, some level of mutual cooperation and shared confidence in each other is indispensable. Trust is one of those simple, monosyllabic terms that crams more power into its definition than volumes of other words can adequately describe. ‘Trust’ shares that quality with its partner term, ‘love’. The two of them in concert can establish and maintain a bond between individuals that is virtually indestructible, and seeing it in action can be emotionally and spiritually exhilarating.
Another Side to the Coin ~
The power and value of trust cannot be overstated. Without it, healthy, effective, and enduring relationships are no more than a hollow illusion. But the coin has another side. As is true of almost every good thing God provided, trust can be misdirected and twisted into something destructive.
Last week we addressed the ‘blind rage’ that has become so pervasive these days, but there’s another kind of blindness associated with it, and like blind rage, it has nothing to do with our optical equipment. This one may not seem on the surface to be as violent, but its effects can be ultimately devastating. This form of blindness is a dangerous misapplication of trust that we’ll call ‘blind allegiance’. Blind allegiance is the determination to follow someone or something without hesitation, without examination, and without question.
You’ve Gotta Wonder About Sheep ~
For instance, some time ago, a group of Turkish shepherds were watching their sheep graze near a cliff. With no identifiable provocation, one of the sheep simply walked off the edge of the cliff and fell to its death. The shepherds watched in spellbound disbelief as some 1,500 other sheep calmly followed suit. Inexplicably, one after the other trudged up to the precipice and fell over to join the others until none were left. That’s what blind allegiance looks like in sheep.
What we’re seeing in college classrooms and campuses doesn’t look so different. Neither does the behavior we’re seeing from mainstream ‘journalists’, or Hollywood and entertainment celebrities, or among ‘inside-the-beltway’ political elites, or in elementary and high school classrooms. And institutional churches don’t escape their share of blind allegiance, either. In many of them, denominational traditions, decrees, and mandates void of any Biblical authority are followed without question. All around us, functional eyes and brains are being disregarded in order to follow some popular cultural or philosophical trend, even though the path can only lead to eventual destruction.
No Call from God for Blind Allegiance ~
God invites examination and challenge. He says, “Come now, and let us reason together…” (Isaiah 1:18a NKJV). He doesn’t want blind trust or any other kind of blindness from His followers. If a principle or philosophy is challenged and found sound and trustworthy, then the challenges only validate its claims and trust is reinforced. Ideas and leaders that resist examination and disallow challenge should immediately be suspect. God does not call us to blind trust but admonishes us to look carefully into everything He says about life and to test His claims in personal application.
The Cliff Is Waiting ~
Our education system and communication networks in America and many of our churches advocate philosophies, lifestyles, and values that God rejects because they are deeply flawed. Those who propagate them do not tolerate, much less invite, careful, critical examination. Instead, they demand that their toxic examples be followed without exception. That’s not education; it’s indoctrination, and the result isn’t individual freedom and enlightened self-management—it’s becoming just another sheep in the flock. The cliff is waiting, folks, but no one in the flock points it out, so apparently it must be okay … right?
© 2017 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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