Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Group Think

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.Proverbs 15:22 NLT

…..victory depends on having many advisers. Proverbs 24:6 NLT

None of us enjoys getting our ideas shot down by a committee or board. Yet there is safety in numbers only if everyone speaks their mind in a humble and Christlike way. I have talked to new church board members who told me, they aren’t really sure what to do, so they just watch and vote the way everyone else is voting. There is no point in having many advisers if they all think alike. There is also no point in having many advisers if they don’t warn us of the consequences of the board or committee’s choices. Also the board must realize their loyalty must belong to the mission of the group and not just to the leader of the group.

While I was taking a Speech and Communications class, at a local community college, the professor introduced me to the phrase “Group Think.”

According to my professor, group think is a phenomenon, where being a part of the group is actually more important than the mission or beliefs and values of the group itself. It is where you are afraid of disagreeing with the group,           in order to protect the mission of the group, for fear of being separated from the group.

Symptoms of group think are when the group over estimates its power and authority, and becomes close minded. Group members experience pressure to conform, regardless if conforming is actually helping the group accomplish its mission. Membership in the group actually becomes more important than the mission of the group.

My professor gave some examples. In Watergate all the President’s men agree to break in and bug the democratic headquarters. Later many confessed they knew it was wrong, but they complied for fear of no longer being able to work next to the President. Being a part of the group became more important than the mission of the United States government.

As my professor explained, I started thinking of some examples of “group think” in the Bible. The Jews all agreed to crucify Jesus and release Barabbas because that’s what the leaders wanted. This actually brought unity to the group, but at what expense! People were afraid to confess Jesus for fear of being thrown out of the group or synagogue. Yet Jesus was the whole purpose of the synagogue! When this phenomenon occurred the group defeated its purpose of being a

group just in order to be in the group. They may have even thought they were protecting the group from Roman persecution by having Jesus crucified, but without Jesus the group meant nothing.

Having many advisers will keep us focused on our mission only if they are not afraid to speak up.

The greatest want of the world is the want of men– men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. -Ellen White, Education, Page 57.

You may study the Proverbs Sabbath School lesson here.

Acts of The Apostles-Before The Sanhedrin

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 8

This chapter was based on Acts 5:12-42.

The priests and rulers saw that Christ was extolled above them. As the Sadducees, who did not believe in a resurrection, heard the apostles declaring that Christ had risen from the dead, they were enraged, realizing that if the apostles were allowed to preach a risen Saviour, and to work miracles in His name, the doctrine that there would be no resurrection would be rejected by all, and the sect of the Sadducees would soon become extinct. The Pharisees were angry as they perceived that the tendency of the disciples’ teaching was to undermine the Jewish ceremonies, and make the sacrificial offerings of no effect.  {AA 78.1} 

Looks to me like the religous leader’s may have been victims of something I learned about in a college communications class, called “Group Think.” They were more interested in preserving their group than they were in preserving or finding truth. Self preservation was more important than doing the right thing or preaching the right thing. Here is what I learned in my class almost ten years ago now.

The greatest want of the world is the want of men– men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.  {Ed 57.3}

                                      Group Think

Group Think: 

Where being a part of the group is actually more important then the mission or beliefs and values of the group itself.

 When you do not want to disagree with the group for fear of being separated from the group.

Symptoms of group Think:

Group overestimates its power and authority. 

Group becomes closed minded.

Group members experience pressure to conform.

Membership in group becomes more important than solving problems.

Examples of Group Think:

 

Joab complies with King David and puts Uriah on the front line of battle even though he knew it was murder.

Jews all agree to crucify Jesus and release Barabbas because that’s what the leaders wanted. 

In Watergate all the President’s men agree to bug the democratic headquarters. Later many confessed they knew it was wrong but they complied for fear of no longer being able to work next to the President. 

In 1986 NASA sends up the Space Challenger even though they knew it was too cold. They did not want to delay it any longer as they wanted it to go up before the President’s State of the Union Address. Seven people were killed.

Cure for Group Think: 

Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.   Acts 5:29

  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.   Ezekiel 3:18

 The greatest want of the world is the want of men– men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.  {Ed 57.3}