The Only Opinion that Matters
Written by: Kari Sletten
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From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘"If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar."
They cried out, "away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." So he delivered
him over to them to be crucified.
- John 19:12;15 -16 ESV
Imagine this moment. Imagine being in Pilate’s position: taking an innocent man to be crucified simply because you’ve been pressured into it. A man who did no wrong, sentenced to die by your hand. Imagine being in Jesus’ position: being sent to slaughter by the very people that you came to save from themselves.
This scenario, although startlingly horrific, is not entirely unfamiliar to us. Put simply, Pilate succumbed to peer pressure (albeit on a much larger scale than we face on a day-to-day basis). He became more concerned with his appearance in the eyes of the people, and Caesar, than his own beliefs. The pressure placed upon him by his peers forced him to place a judgment upon Jesus that he did not believe was warranted. He allowed the opinions of others to cloud his judgement to attempt to save himself from a similar fate.
I know that I have experienced this in my life, and I would like to share one of these times with you. I am an equestrian. I have loved horses as long as I can remember and have a true passion for the sport of show jumping. When I was younger the opinions of my trainers and my peers in the sport dictated the way I predicted my future. I was told that no matter how hard I worked I would never amount to anything in the sport… that I was the kind of athlete who could work harder than everyone else and still go nowhere. I believed it. I allowed the way that my peers had judged me to determine the way that I viewed myself. For a long time, I adopted their opinions as my own. It felt as if that was my only option.
When I realized that their opinions didn’t need to hold any weight in my life, I began to excel in the sport. I trusted in God and leaned into my passion for the sport, knowing that God was the one who gave me that passion. I learned that the opinions of others don’t have to dictate the way that we live our lives, and that the only opinion that matters is God’s.
As I have prayed through this passage, there is one clear message that God has called me to share: The eyes of the world hold absolutely NO weight when placed side-by-side with the eyes of God.
By choosing to live a life in pursuit of the Gospel, we are choosing to turn away from the influence of our peers. We are choosing to pursue a life in which the only opinion that matters is that of God. We are choosing to deny the will of others so that we may live for the will of Christ. We are choosing the love of God over the love of this world.
1. When have you experienced peer pressure in your life? How did the will of your peers drive you away from the will of God?
2. What can you do to resist the pressure of others in your life? What would it look like for you to lean further into Christ when the world begins to demand more of you?
Heavenly Father, help us to live a life dedicated to You. A life where we do not fall subject to the will of others, but where we lean further into Your love. Help us to resist the temptation to follow the crowd when we feel there is no other way. Help us to always lean into Your love and kindness for guidance. We pray all of this in the name of Your Son, Amen.
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