Is the ma­jor­ity al­ways right?

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - Gene Linzey

That’s a se­ri­ous ques­tion and needs to be an­swered. But it’s also a dan­ger­ous ques­tion be­cause a con­niv­ing answer could un­der­mine our so­cial or­der. Re­mem­ber, our so­ci­ety con­sists not only of var­i­ous lev­els of gov­ern­ment, it in­cludes fam­i­lies, so­cial clubs, churches, and busi­nesses; and to a large ex­tent our so­ci­ety is based on the “ma­jor­ity rule” prin­ci­ple. That’s what lo­cal and na­tional elec­tions are all about.

Be­fore we pro­ceed, please un­der­stand I am not ad­vo­cat­ing a re­jec­tion of elec­tions, ma­jor­ity-rule in Congress, con­gre­ga­tional gov­ern­ment in lo­cal churches, and so forth. In any sce­nario, the first re­sult could be the rise of a dic­ta­tor and that is ab­hor­rent. But also un­der­stand this: Even with ma­jor­ity rule in place, we can still have a dic­ta­tor, an­ar­chy, or chaos when we elect peo­ple who have no fear or rev­er­ence for God into of­fice. (Think that one through.)

How can that be? I’m glad you asked. Let’s look at a cou­ple of sto­ries in the Bi­ble. We’ll start with Ex­o­dus 32:1-6. Moses was on the moun­tain get­ting the rules for liv­ing (Ten Com­mand­ments) from God. But the ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple wanted a god they could see, so they chose a com­mon god of the mid­dle east: a young bull (“golden calf”) to wor­ship. Even Aaron the high priest — Moses’ brother — co­op­er­ated with them. But the ma­jor­ity was wrong. Ma­jor­ity-rule here was dis­as­trous.

Look at Num­bers 13. The Is­raelites had left Egypt, spent two years hear­ing from God and get­ting their so­ci­ety es­tab­lished. They were at the bor­der of the Promised Land, and “home” was in sight. God — who cre­ated the world and all that is in it, so He has the right to do what He wants — told Moses to send 12 men across the river to get in­for­ma­tion.

All 12 gave a good re­port about the weather, the fer­til­ity of the soil (they even brought back figs, pomegranates, and a huge clus­ter of grapes), the avail­abil­ity of forests for lum­ber, etc. But 10 of them — 83.3 per­cent — said they should not go into the land, while Joshua and Caleb — 16.6 per­cent — gave the cor­rect re­port.

The masses agreed with the ma­jor­ity, and God is­sued judg­ment: all those over the age of 20 at that time would never en­ter the Promised Land. All, ex­cept for Joshua and Caleb, be­cause they agreed with God. The un­godly ma­jor­ity ruled, and they reaped dis­as­ter.

How­ever, Proverbs 11:14 says, “With­out wise lead­er­ship, a na­tion falls; there is safety in hav­ing many ad­vis­ers.” So what should we do?

We must have wise lead­er­ship; but we — the peo­ple — must be knowl­edge­able enough to:

• know who is wise,

• be coura­geous enough to elect them, and

• be wise enough to fol­low them.

How do we gain that wis­dom?

Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear and rev­er­ence of the Lord is the foun­da­tion of all wis­dom. Knowl­edge of the Holy One re­sults in good judg­ment.” That is beau­ti­fully self-ex­plana­tory.

Proverbs 11:10a says, “When the right­eous [Godly peo­ple] do well, the city [so­ci­ety] re­joices [pros­pers].” Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the right­eous [Godly peo­ple] are in au­thor­ity, the peo­ple [so­ci­ety] re­joice; but when the wicked [un­godly peo­ple] are in power, the peo­ple groan [suf­fer].”

We have seen a lot of that in our na­tion’s his­tory.

There­fore, since the “ma­jor­ity-rule” con­cept of­ten gets us into trou­ble, we should be look­ing in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. Where should we be look­ing? Some of you read­ers may get both­ered with me, but the answer is found in the Bi­ble. We should be look­ing for wise peo­ple to lead us.

One man ex­claimed, “I am not look­ing for a Chris­tian to lead me; I want a good politi­cian!” His friend stand­ing nearby mock­ingly said, “Isn’t ‘good politi­cian’ an oxy­moron?” I laughed and said, “I know some good politi­cians. They are peo­ple of high in­tegrity and who can­not be swayed by money, sex, fame, or power. Most of them are Godly folk who pray about their own life, and about pend­ing de­ci­sions. And I know a few non-Chris­tian politi­cians of high in­tegrity.”

We need to un­der­stand that the ma­jor­ity is not al­ways right. There­fore, like Joshua and Caleb, we should not be swayed by the opin­ion of the masses; rather we should study Scrip­ture, pray about de­ci­sions, and base our lives on what is right in God’s sight — even if we must stand alone.

But re­mem­ber: God will be stand­ing with you.

— Gene Linzey is a speaker, au­thor, men­tor and pres­i­dent of the Siloam Springs Writ­ers Guild. Send com­ments and ques­tions to masters.ser­ The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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