Together They Have Become Worthless

“Your son will have to learn to fit in sooner or later,” the woman said to me with a scowl.

“No doubt,” I replied, “but maybe he could learn to walk first.”

My son’s crime? He resisted circle time at our baby gym class for the opportunity to play longer in the ball pit. Yup, he was a rebel.

Much of life is about fitting in. I believe that’s important. Getting along with others, obeying laws, and working for the greater good are valuable pursuits. But, there come times in our lives, many, in fact, when we have to muster the fortitude to defy the majority.

Why the majority is wrong as often as it is remains a mystery to me and yet, there it is. Often, we must defy the very community we seek to serve. I remember, as a young mother in that baby gym class, contemplating the complex nature of that paradox. How do I raise children who know when to serve the community by conforming and when to serve it by standing alone?

Unity is beautiful but when people unite around evil, “together they become worthless” in ways that can destroy not only those who won’t go along with the majority but ultimately the majority themselves.

Right now, people are coming together, uniting all over the world around bad ideas, with global technology to speed their efforts. While John Lennon dreamed of a world that would someday be one, there is a dangerous unity lurking on the horizon. In Romans 3:10b-12, Paul describes this tragic unity: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

I want you to meditate on that phrase: “together they  have become worthless.” Let it ping-pong in your thoughts today. “Together they have become worthless.” Consider it when you watch the news, work at your job, care for your children, worship with your faith community, or hang out with your friends. “Together they have become worthless.”

How is that for an epitaph on a community? Frightening, I would say, but incredibly common and easier to spot in someone else’s majority than our own.

You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen it, most of you, firsthand, how a group of people can unify around the wrong idea and together become worthless. From the schoolgirl clique that decides to exclude the new girl to the street gang to the power-brokers in the PTO to the ruling council of the denomination to ISIS to architects of genocide, one person finds a wrong idea and when others agree – there’s a unity that binds them to one another and to evil. If the one had remained alone with his or her wrong thinking, the notion might have died but instead, together they become worthless.

But what are we to do? Not every bad idea seed comes inside a packet illustrated with its adult flower. And if one can convince a dozen, then a hundred, then more; how can another one recognize the danger lurking in their unity? And every decision not to join the crowd comes with consequences. It ain’t all as easy as sitting out circle time, is it?

We aren’t helpless in this. There are some things we know.

First of all, any idea can be weighed against God’s word to measure its worth. It’s not always simple and reasonable believers sometimes disagree but there is a standard of truth. Knowing God’s word, obeying what we know, and surrounding ourselves with Godly teachers who live what they teach is baseline for surviving the dangerous unity to come.

Second, we can be faithful in the small things. What’s true for calories and true for pennies is also true for ideas. We can nibble our way to obesity. We can nickel and dime our way the poor house. And we can work ourselves into a mess one evil thought at a time. The people of Israel entered the Promised Land determined to remain faithful to God but by the end of Judges, one of their leaders was cutting up a concubine to prove a point. Paul warns us to take every thought captive, not as a type of bondage or legalism but as a way to uproot any bad idea seeds before they can sprout.

Third, we can believe God when He says He is with us so we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow. Listen to Him now. This moment, is preparation for the next. Being here, now, with Him where He is, is key to being with Him tomorrow. The world is not keeping pace with Jesus – it’s goose-stepping to the rhythm of an evil drum. When they unite around that ultimate evil idea, when together they become worthless, you won’t even be there because you’ll be hidden in Christ, strong in Christ, protected and emboldened by Christ. Worthy is Christ and worthy are you (not worthless) because of Him.

Fourth, don’t resist the conditioning He sends in your direction. A drill sergeant in boot camp knows what his troops will face on the battlefield. He readies them through exercises that make no sense to the inexperienced soldiers at the time but if they submit to the training, they’ll be equipped for the field. It’s the same with us. Every time God strips something away to force you to rely on Him alone, it is a gift against the coming battle. That reliance is the spiritual muscle memory you’ll need to draw your sword and raise your shield against the dangerous unity growing like a storm cloud on the horizon.

You choose. Join with those who by unifying around godless ideas have made themselves worthless or join yourself to Christ and stand against them.

King David said this: “For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.” 2 Samuel 22:30 (ESV) Eternity resides in that leap of faith. Make the worthy choice, loved ones. He is able to make us stand, even against the evil unity to come.

Tweetable: Together they have become worthless – standing strong when evil unites 

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    The Conversation

  1. Lori, Love love love this post. May I repost it on my blog? Please????? Thank you for sharing these words with the world.

  2. Maxine D says:

    Ouch – another disturbance for this hobbit to consider. Thanks

  3. Craig says:

    Hi Lori,

    Praise our Lord for living a bold and loving Christian life/light through you. Your blog is so encouraging .. strengthening.. and convicting!