Thursday, April 23, 2020

23 Apr 2020 - Injustice and succumbing to peer pressure: Are we choosing to please people or God?


Injustice and succumbing to peer pressure: Are we choosing to please people or God?

Today devotion is taken from Luke 23:13-25

In this passage, it is clear that Pilate could not find any fault in Jesus and had no basis of charge on Him. He even called out to the crowd several times to say that Jesus was innocent. Despite this fact, Pilate succumbed to peer pressure and failed to uphold justice. Pilate had every authority to prevent the crucifixion of Jesus but he decided that it was easier and more convenient for him to give in to the crowd’s desire, in order to keep the peace and maintain his political power.

This reminded me of the Central Park Five case, an infamous miscarriage of justice case whereby five Black and Latino teenagers wrongfully convicted of attacking and raping a white woman, and their eventual acquittal came only after all five teens had served their time. There were documentaries which saw that due to peer pressure and racism, the police were determined to catch the culprit at all costs. They had interrogated the teens for hours and it was also suggested that the police had coached the teens what to say in their statements which resulted in coerced confessions.

Sometimes we tend to take the easy way out and close a blind eye to injustice in order to please people rather than God. Perhaps, a situation where you could not bring yourself to report to the authorities knowing that your boss is giving out bribes. Or to put the other way round, you had the authority to fire your employee for misconduct but decided not because he is earning the company a huge income. We struggle to do what is morally right sometimes because we want to prioritize worldly values over Godly values.

Let us set our minds to Godly goals and be conscious to always seek God’s kingdom first (see Matthew 6:33). We should do this even if it means alienating some people. The followers of Jesus had many enemies because they determined to please God above all else. As Paul told the Galatians, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). The Pharisees and Pilate in putting an innocent man to death were short sighted and focused on what is seen. We must always fix our eyes on the unseen for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). They saw the death of Jesus as their victory but that was short lived because Jesus’ victory over death is eternal which is given to all who believes in him.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we know that you are a Just God. In a world where there are so much injustice and corruption happening today, help us to become more like You and less like us. We pray to be compassionate and to uphold justice for the helpless even if it means being unpopular amongst our peers. Give us the strength to do the right thing and to choose pleasing You with the truth over convenience.