So What? Why being in the minority puts us in good company
I appreciated Dina Markova’s article, “in the minority = in good company.” It reminds me of how my father, Moishe Rosen, used to ask one of his questions that wasn’t really a question: “Since when has the truth ever been decided by a majority vote?”
Some have said, “God plus one is a majority.” But really, God is a majority of one. And God is the only majority that truly rules.
In human relationships we often strive to gain consensus. This can be very healthy, inasmuch as it requires sharing of power. If absolute power corrupts absolutely—and we’ve seen over and over that it does—then there is wisdom, safety even, in sharing power. But the reason why absolute power corrupts absolutely has nothing to do with the nature of power. The danger is in the nature of humanity, which has already been corrupted. Pure power in an impure vessel becomes impure… and that’s putting it mildly.
Seeking consensus is one way to guard against corrupt power. It’s also a handy way to avoid the illusion that you are leading a charge when, in fact, no one is following. Consensus is valuable, as long as we realize that it has limited applications. If we try to make it work beyond those applications, its tendency to corrupt is similar to that of absolute power.
If we ignore the natural tendency that sin has to influence our perceptions and our choices, whether on a personal or group level, we leave ourselves vulnerable to that influence. Many Jewish friends take exception to that view, believing it to be a Christian aberration that takes an unnecessary and unhealthily dim view of humanity.
But while the Christian view of humanity might be unpopular, it’s anything but dim. Not only were we created in God’s image, but He loves us so much that when we marred that image and rejected God’s authority, He endured unimaginable suffering in order to redeem us. The need for our redemption is spelled out clearly in the Hebrew Scriptures: the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it? Is it any wonder then, that a consensus of hearts has the capacity to be exponentially deceitful and desperately wicked? A consensus might affirm something that is true… but might just as easily be promoting something that is false.
So what? Am I saying that being the odd ones out makes us right, by definition? No, you and I can disagree with a majority of people and still be wrong. Though redeemed, we are still plenty capable of error and sin. We can be wrong about what we think, or we can be wrong in our motives and our way of expressing even the truest of thoughts. The good news is that if we want Him to, God is happy to help us see things His way, to know what is true and what is good, and to have His grace to act on it.
But along with Dina, I am also saying that we shouldn’t be discouraged when we find ourselves swimming against the stream. We should not feel insecure when we can’t agree with the majority. Because with our heart and minds set on Yeshua (Jesus) we are with the majority of One that will never mislead us. And though the whole world may misunderstand and disapprove of us, His understanding and approval is everything.
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.