A gag often used in comedy movies is to have a person who is unknown to others enter the scene. That person puts on airs of being someone they are not. Then somewhere along the storyline, something absurd happens but totally works out for their persona. Something like spilling coffee on a suit coat and then turning it inside out to wear. Of course, he or she is so loved or mysterious to others that when the wearing of the inside out garment is explained as a fashion statement, everyone is in awe of how edgy and cool the person is. In all such scenarios, someone usually ends up doing the same thing later in the movie. In this case, a person would end up wearing their suit inside out in order to look as “cool” as the protagonist. At some point in the movie, the fraudster is usually found out and their whole façade explodes in their face.
Sounds like an unlikely scenario, right? But there are people among us every day that put on deceiving airs and we often fall for it. Human beings want to be accepted and loved. God created us to need each other. Unfortunately, Satan knows this and uses it against us. In the world, there are people who for whatever reason seem “cool,” more intelligent, or interesting to us. We may not even realize it at first, but for some reason, we are attracted to some trait in another and want to believe in them. Maybe we even want to act like them. How many times have you watched a movie and because of how the action plays out, you find yourself rooting for someone who is a thief, murderer, or some other immoral character?
When I was a child of 12, I liked to hang out with my older cousin and her “bad boy” boyfriend. They smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol and did drugs. I was influenced by their behavior and soon asked for a cigarette. I took a puff and coughed violently. They laughed and teased me, but that only made me more determined to be like them. The next time we met I was ready and had practiced not to choke on the nasty smoke. Their silence as I smoked made me feel accepted and that was the beginning of my smoking habit. We are—for good and bad—influenced by those around us.
Even those we love can be a problem for us. Our relatives, friends and acquaintances all influence us. We learn very good and very bad habits from these relationships. In our Christian lives, this can be a problem. We are told, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20, King James Version). We often believe we will easily see the evil and darkness, but it is not so. When we respect someone or think they are something special, we often become blind to the evil or wrongdoings being put before us.
Being mindful of who we need to be
As Christians, we are to emulate Christ. Unfortunately, we do not always do so. Instead of going to the Bible for answers, we too often listen to what our family or friends say. We may emulate what they are doing because they seem knowledgeable. We may tithe in the same manner as our parents or others. Maybe we do not attend church as we should because we know others who do not. It could be we compromise on what we eat, or we drink too much because we are living in the moment with others.
Whatever it is we are doing or that we are considering doing, we must first look to what Jesus Christ did. We know He lived by the word of God, we know He said nothing would change in the law (Matthew 5:18). Why do we then keep looking to others to answer our questions? Just because the “Jones” do it does not make it right. We must rely on the word of God to find the answers we need—studying the Bible with prayer and an open mind. We cannot insert our feelings or the feelings of others into what we read. Proverbs 4:5 says, “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth” (also see Proverbs 5:7).
We are often reminded in Scripture that what seems right to us is far from it and we vainly worship Him when we follow the ways of man (Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 15:9; Psalms 118:8-9; 2 Timothy 4:3). It is important that we remember to listen to those who are of like mind: those who teach the true words of God. Galatians 1:8 also warns that if even an angel teaches us contrary to the word of God, he is accursed. It is important to only listen to those who teach the scriptures as written and if we hear something that sounds not quite right or confusing, we go to the Bible ourselves and confirm what we have heard with prayer, knowing there is but one narrow path to follow (2 John 1:9).