Herod: The Sway of the Crowd

One of the greatest lessons we may ever learn comes from the life of Herod. Herod served as a tetrarch and great ruler over Galilee where Jesus lived. He stood as a man of great stature in Jesus’ time, yet he succumbed to the sway of the crowd. He surrendered to the masses – he ordered John the Baptist’s death and allowed Jesus to be crucified.

Although Herod was a man of great stature, some say he was not a great man. The accounts of Herod teach us an indispensable life lesson: no one is immune from the influences of the multitude. Regardless of the position, high or low, none of us are secure from peer pressure.

Fear of Rejection

How does this fear develop? It is almost always initiated when you have been severely discarded by someone you were hoping to please. When this powerful fear or rejection takes over, you will see several harmful effects take place.

What the Fear of Rejection Does to Us

Allows Others to Manipulate Us

When you have a fear of rejection, you permit people to manipulate you and mold you into their image. We do crazy things that we know are wrong because we fear rejection from our peers.

It Causes Us to Conform to Peer Pressure

We tend to walk like other people, talk like other people, act like other people and dress like other people because we don’t want to be rejected.

It Keeps Us from Following the Truth

The fear of rejection has the power to keep us from speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We do this because we crave approval and that supersedes our need to speak the truth.

It Prevents Us from Giving and Receiving Love

Unresolved past hurts can prevent future relationships. The unfortunate result is that not only am I taking precautionary measures to prevent myself from getting hurt, but I am also cutting myself off from the only way I will ever receive love – through other people. And when I cut myself off from receiving love, I also prevent myself from the most necessary human function of all – giving love.

It Silences Our Sharing of Jesus Christ

Sometimes we don’t share our faith because we are more concerned about the approval of others than anything else in our lives.

So, how do we overcome the effect of the crowd and conquer the fear of rejection?

How to Overcome the Sway of the Crowd

  1. Put God in the First Place
  2. The first and most important step is to place God first because “the Lord is my light and my salvation, I will fear no one” (Ps. 27:1). David describes the Lord in two ways here: as light and salvation.

    David was saying that God is like a light to him – God helps him to see things more clearly so he does not have to be afraid. God gives him the security he needs while energizing his life. When he had placed God first as the light in his life, then he didn’t need to fall prey to the sway of the crowd.

    God is also our salvation. The Bible says that “[Nothing] can separate us form the love of God” (Rom. 8:39). When we place God first, we come to understand our salvation and it is then that we know beyond a shadow of doubt that He alone meets all of our needs. When I please God, it is always the right thing to do; it doesn’t matter what everybody else thinks.

  3. Put People in Their Place
  4. I am talking about placing others’ opinions in their rightful place. That means having the right perspective and not overvaluing what people say all the time.

    “The Lord says: ‘I am the one who strengthens you. Why should you fear mortal man …?’” (Ps. 27:1).

    This means that what people say is temporary; it’s merely mortal.

    When other people’s opinions of you become all-important, you are setting yourself up for a big fall. One of the greatest ways we overcome the sway of the crowd is to always live for an audience of One because it is His approval we want. He is the only One that matters.

  5. Put Yourself in the Proper Place

Some people think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. And others think far too lowly of themselves. Very few of us realize how unique and valuable we are to God.

If you understand how valuable you are to God and how much God stands behind you, you would be able to withstand a lot of rejection. A poor self-image is due to our lack of understanding God’s value of us, so when people criticize us, deep down inside, we wonder if they are right. When you are so focused on your fears and on yourself, you miss the beautiful potential and possibilities of allowing God to work through you to touch lives.

The cure? Begin to accept what God says about you. “You [God] made man inferior only to Yourself. You crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5).

That means we are only inferior to God and no one else, so don’t allow yourself to feel inferior to others. We are acceptable to God, approved by God and loved by God. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, paying for our sins and covering us with His love, we have been made acceptable.

I want to encourage you to simplify your life – when you sense His love, put God in the first place, people in their place and yourself in the right place, then you will have a confidence that no one can ever shake. You will not fall pretty to the sway of the crowd. And you won’t feel the need for approval. Instead, you will live a life centered on His approval and based on His love for you.

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