In the Disney movie, Aladdin, there’s a scene early in the film in which Aladdin and his new-found 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 that so that they could slide down unharmed and make their escape. Trust can be such a neat and easy thing, especially if you happen to be a fictional character whose welfare is determined by writers and cartoonists who happen to like you.
Desperation–A Powerful Incentive to Trust ~
In no period of time in my life have there been so many people so confused about so many things that are so vital to our personal and national welfare. To elaborate on the polarization of our country would be unnecessarily redundant, but dealing with the divisiveness all around us is not as simple as deciding which side to choose. There are complex issues facing both sides, and the potential for disastrous results for wrong choices lurks everywhere. Sorting out which of the controversial situations confronting us is most likely to affect us personally is not always easy. A key question complicating that process is whether the information we’re getting is reliable or whether it’s just another news version of one of my grandmother’s quilts . . . i.e., a composite arrangement of disconnected bits and pieces sewn together to present a predetermined picture. The simple matter of applying trust sounds easy, but determining where to direct it–not so much.
Choosing what to believe and who to trust when it comes to important issues is always difficult, but that difficulty is magnified exponentially when the process is further clouded by confusion and uncertainty and magnified by a sense of urgency. The combination can easily lead to feelings of panic and desperation, and as those feelings grow, so does the incentive to forgo careful investigation and to grab onto anything that might offer relief from the pressure. In a time when there are so many complex problems and dire predictions, the urge to make impulsive decisions about what to believe and who to follow is compelling. Unfortunately, a “choose now, and ask questions later” reaction may provide an initial sense of relief, but it often leads to another kind of blindness. I call it what it is … “blind allegiance.”
Missing a Part of the Process ~
Blind allegiance is a determination to cling to an idea or cause and/or follow someone without investigation, without consultation, without examination, and without hesitation. When issues of great importance are involved, blind allegiance can be devastating. Careful investigation ought to precede application when it comes to extending trust. Blind allegiance ignores that part of the process and the end result is nearly always tragic, and sometimes irreversible. We can illustrate what blind allegiance looks like by turning to the animal kingdom, like Jesus often did.
A Fascinating Story ~
Some time ago, a group of Turkish shepherds were watching their sheep graze near a cliff. For some unknown reason, one of the sheep in a flock of some 1,500 slipped off the edge of a nearby cliff and fell to its death. By the time the shepherds, who were taking a break for breakfast, realized what was happening, they could only watch in spellbound disbelief as every other sheep in the flock followed suit. Inexplicably, one after the other, every one of them trudged up to the precipice and stepped off to join the others until there was not a single sheep left. That’s what blind allegiance looks like in sheep, and it’s not that much different among human beings.
Not a Leap in the Dark ~
Some have suggested that placing our faith in God is no different than standing on a precipice and leaping out into a black void. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God never asks us to do anything blindly, quite the opposite. Throughout history, God has clearly revealed who He is. He has left nothing to conjecture about His position and His role relative to both the world and the universe as a whole. His nature and His character are on open display in the visible world around us, and His power to fulfill everything He said He would do has been demonstrated and documented in every age since the beginning. When God invites us to come to Him and to trust Him, He wants us to come with our eyes wide open, both physically and spiritually.
If faith in God involves any blindness at all, it’s only the willingness to shut our eyes to the seductive images thrown at us by a corrupt world system. Faith in Him doesn’t cloud our physical vision, quite the contrary. It expands and clarifies it. Faith not only explains what we see with our eyes, it also enables us to discern things that our optical equipment cannot see. In describing Moses’ faith, for example, the writer of the book of Hebrews makes an interesting statement.
By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27 (NKJV)
A deceitful and manipulative world system offers abundant provisions free of cost. It’s passionate promoters promise to remove unfair ethnic and cultural barriers, and to establish “social justice,” a term whose definition can be adjusted to fit whatever action might appease the largest crowd with the loudest voices at the moment. They ask others to join in and follow them, yet they resist having their claims investigated or their failed track records exposed. Instead, they ridicule all who oppose them and turn up the volume on their empty promises. Multitudes of confused and anxious people desperate for answers grab on to their meaningless words and blindly follow them.
Not Cartoons or Sheep ~
The things being offered by those who deny God’s existence and/or oppose every principle He designed for our welfare are nothing more than fantasy, but unlike the characters in the Aladdin movie, we don’t live in a cartoon world. There’s no friendly artist waiting to draw a safety net under us if we decide to jump out the window. Life is real, and our decisions have real consequences. We aren’t sheep, either, but our tendency to follow others without considering what the impact is going to be is similar to theirs. And like those sheep mentioned earlier, following blindly can lead to the same kind of disastrous end. We’re more than cartoons and sheep. We are people created in the image of God. We have the capacity to evaluate, to investigate, and the freedom to choose.
We live in an uncertain time and the future isn’t clear, but placing our trust in Jesus Christ can clear up the greatest uncertainty of all. In Him, God offers eternal life for every undeserving sinner who will trust Him as Savior. And unlike the world system, we aren’t called to follow blindly. He enables us to see the path He has chosen for us and the glorious destination it leads to. There’s a cliff waiting for “sheep” who blindly follow other sheep, but Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) who gave His life to keep His own from that disastrous end. All of us are involved in following some kind of leader, and at a time like this, we’d better be sure our eyes are open and that we know where we’re being led.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly to this article through Twitter.
“Blind allegiance is a determination to cling to an idea or cause and/or follow someone without investigation, without consultation, without examination, and without hesitation . . . Blind allegiance can be devastating.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
“If faith in God involves any blindness at all, it’s only the willingness to shut our eyes to the seductive images thrown at us by a corrupt world system. Faith in Him doesn’t cloud our physical vision . . . It expands and clarifies it.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
“We live in an uncertain time and the future isn’t clear, but placing our trust in Jesus Christ can clear up the greatest uncertainty of all. In Him, God offers eternal life for every undeserving sinner who will trust Him as Savior.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
“There’s a cliff waiting for “sheep” who blindly follow other sheep, but Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) who gave His life to keep His own from a disastrous end. We’d better be sure our eyes are open and know where we’re being led.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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