by David Brandt Berg
A world-famous nonconformist named Jesus, while exhorting His disciples to leave their old lives in order to follow Him, warned them that they would be “as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matthew 10:16). “If you were of the system,” He as good as said, “the system would love its own. But you are not of the system; therefore the system hates you” (John 15:19, paraphrased).
Dare to be different, He was saying. Venture to vary from the norm which the systematic system addicts have established to conform to their own Establishment behavior, and they will hate you for daring to challenge their authority to tell you what they have decided is right and wrong.
Just you dare to be so bold as to think, act, live or teach differently from the vast robotic, narcotic, conventional, pretentional, conformist, performist, zombie bombie, so-called silent majority of the supposedly average worldlings, and you will soon discover that they are not so silent, and you will hear them too, for it is the hit dogs that howl! And if you learn to run with these wolves, you will learn to howl too, especially when someone dares to say and prove that the “normal” way of life is not the only way!
History has proven time and again in every age that the majority is usually wrong. As Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it: because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). As the German philosopher Hegel said, one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history. Therefore the sordid chapters of the horrors of history continue to repeat themselves.
When any courageous iconoclast becomes so presumptuous as to dare to smash the idols of the generally accepted behavior of the vast and wrongful majority, or if some brave pioneer of spiritual matters or of science is so foolhardy as to even suggest that society could possibly be wrong on some things, he is often hooted down as a maniac, denounced as demented, persecuted as a departurist, and sometimes even condemned as a criminal, hanged as a heretic, or crucified as a menace to society!
Why? Because the darkness cannot stand the light, and the wrong cannot bear the right, and the big lie cannot tolerate the truth, and those who are bound bitterly resent the freedom of the free, because by all of these the wrongful majority are exposed for their sins of darkness, deception, greed and the enslavement of the exploited. They must therefore furiously endeavor to smother the light, say that wrong is right, attempt to shout down and drown out the voice of truth, frustrate and bind the free, and exterminate those who would expose and terminate society’s hypocrisy.
When Noah built his big boat on dry land and said there was going to be a worldwide flood (when it had never even rained before), he was laughed at by the vast, vocal majority of his day who were later to drown in that very same flood, while Noah and his family had the last laugh (Genesis chapters 6-8; Hebrews 11:7).
When Abraham, at the age of one hundred, claimed that he was going to become the father of many nations and that his descendants would be as numerous as the sands of the sea, his own barren wife, Sarah, laughed him to scorn. But Abraham was soon to laugh last, because Sarah, herself in her nineties, bore him Isaac, the forefather of the Jews. And Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, bore him Ishmael, forefather of the Arabs (Genesis 17:1-21; 18:1-19; 21:1-5).
When a lowly shepherd from lonely Sinai claimed he was going to single-handedly deliver six million Hebrew slaves from the greedy clutches of their all-powerful Egyptian oppressors, Moses’ own people made fun of him. But it was he who later had the fun as he led them miraculously through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 3:1-10; 14:8-30).
The people of Jericho jeered when Joshua jogged his Jews seven times around their impregnable walls, but it was really a blast on those tiny trumpets when those walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6:4-5,15-16,20).
The Midianite army of thousands must have really cracked up laughing when most of Gideon’s army departed, and he was only left with three hundred men. But it was the Midianites’ turn to flee when Gideon’s paltry party pelted them with pottery in the middle of the night (Judges 6:11-14; 7:1-23).
The mighty lords of the conquering Philistines sneered when Samson, the proverbial Israelite strongman, stood blind before them as their captive. But when he pushed the pillars of their temple apart, it was his turn to snicker as he slew more of his enemies with his death than his life (Judges 16:23-30).
The giant Goliath ridiculed the little lad with the slingshot, but when David cut loose with just one honest bit of rock, the Philistine phony fell flat on his face and the children of God danced for joy (1 Samuel 17:1-10,42-51).
The prophets who predicted the doom of the dominant dominions of their day were derided as daft and demented, but when each power fell in its time according to their rhyme, they were no longer found to be fanatically funny!
When Jesus told His religious foes, the Pharisees, that their proud temple would be pulled down, they denounced Him in derision. But forty years later when the Romans burned it to the ground and pulled it stone from stone to get at the melted gold in the cracks, Jesus’ prophecy wasn’t so funny anymore (Luke 19:37-44).
When the early Christians prophesied the fall of the Roman Empire, Nero exiled, beheaded and crucified them, burned them at the stake and fed them to the lions. But Nero died a perverted, raving maniac, and Rome burned and her empire eventually crumbled—and the remains were joyously taken over by the Christians themselves!
The early Christian martyrs were vilified, pilloried, tortured, torn apart and sawn asunder by the pagans who attempted to stamp them out. But soon the heathen themselves were conquered by the truth, love and peace of these berated bands of beautiful people.
Then when Christendom itself became the next powerful system, the Church establishment tried to suffocate the findings of men of science and stifle the voices of freedom. But in so doing, the Church rang its own death knell as they extolled their fleeting victories over the new enlightenment and the dawn of the Renaissance of learning!
Nearly all the prophets and leaders of God throughout the Bible and past ages were thought to be crazy by the rest of the world—dreamers and visionaries who hallucinated, heard “voices,” and were pretty well “flipped out” over religion.
The conventionalist, traditionalist, or conformist never makes news or changes anything. He’s just like all the rest. Who cares about hearing about somebody that’s no different than anybody else and is right on man’s so-called norm? It’s the unconventional, non-traditionalist, nonconformist, radical, fanatical, iconoclast who usually makes the news.
The people that stay put and never go anywhere and conform to what everybody else is doing don’t even raise an eyebrow; they don’t wake you up or cause a stir. They always think and do whatever they’re supposed to, what society tells them they should. They wouldn’t be caught dead doing what just isn’t done, what nobody else is doing!
The placid little pipsqueaks, Mr. Milquetoasts, string-for-a-backbone jellyfish, that just float around and drift with the tide, like everybody else, and never change anything, never do anything different, never buck the mainstream, never stand up for the truth or what is right, never get out of line, are never out of step with the vast, spineless majority, are therefore never even heard of. They just drift along with everyone else in the flotsam and jetsam, the froth and the foam, the slime and the ooze of normalcy. They never make a sound, never make a dent in progress, never change a jot or a tittle, never make a mark, never make any impression, so the world doesn’t even know they exist! They sink down with the rest in the morass of anonymity—in the mire of Nowhere—and fade into oblivion, never making history!
But the so-called crazy nuts are the ones who make news! History is full of those who dared to challenge the system, dared to be different, dared to buck the tide, dared to shock their generation, dared to defy the science or challenge the mores of their day, dared to champion an unpopular cause, or did something beyond the call of duty. Those who made history were those who lived outside of the norm, the radical, seemingly heretical, revolutionary, misfits, discoverers, inventors, explorers, and the like.
They are the insane dreamers who envisioned doing things that nobody else had ever done before, who thought and behaved differently than their predecessors. And most were thought to have a few screws loose or to be just a little off their rockers compared to the rest of the people. Be they heroic or fiendish, good or bad, diabolical criminals or angelic saints, all were certainly unusual and none of them indifferent!
They lived in fame and died in flame, but nothing and no one could stop them, because the others didn’t know how to handle it; they didn’t know where these pioneers were going, because nobody had ever gone there or done that before. The rest just weren’t prepared for it, so it took them quite a while to catch up with them.
Of course, the majority usually managed to smother the flame by overwhelming it with the sheer number of their dead bodies. But they have never been able to put out of the memory of mankind that here were those who stood out from the rest, outstanding for their achievements! They dared to be different and did what everyone told them not to, or what others said couldn’t be done, because they thought it should be done and they could do it, no matter what anybody said. And they did it, and the world heard about them!
Beaten paths are for beaten men! Burning the candle at both ends may look crazy, but it sure gives a better light! You may not last long, you may wear out fast, but you’ll generate a lot of heat! And when this life is over and the angels beckon you, the world will remember you. If what you did was right, God will never forget it! You’ll shine as the stars forever, and you’ll hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your Lord”—you and all the rest who dared to be “fools for Christ’s sake” (Daniel 12:3; Matthew 25:21; 1 Corinthians 4:10). (Dare To Be Different, A Mountain Streams Book)
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