Looking at the riotous and destructive events over the past year, it’s very obvious that people, when guided solely by their own carnality, rise to nothing more than confused beasts. Whether it’s the destruction and takeover of portions of our cities or the storming of our capital, these events show a mindset that is utterly devoid of God. Mob or herd mentality is not just a trite description of social behavior. People often lose their better senses when they allow themselves to be swayed and controlled by others. And this loss of personal control always begins with people putting themselves in settings or attitudes that breed confusion. “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16).
This carnal trait is not just symptomatic of our era. As described in the Book of Acts, the same characteristic was used against the early followers of Christ. “At that time a great disturbance erupted about the Way. There was a silversmith named Demetrius. He made silver models of Artemis’ temple, and his business generated a lot of profit for the craftspeople. He called a meeting with these craftspeople and others working in related trades and said, ‘Friends, you know that we make an easy living from this business. And you can see and hear that this Paul has convinced and misled a lot of people, not only in Ephesus but also throughout most of the province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands aren’t really gods. This poses a danger not only by discrediting our trade but also by completely dishonoring the great goddess Artemis. The whole province of Asia—indeed, the entire civilized world—worships her, but her splendor will soon be extinguished’” (Acts 19:23-27 Common English Bible).
When the mobs rushed in to stop the apostles, they did so with confusion as their guide. “The city was thrown into turmoil. They rushed as one into the theater. They seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from the province of Macedonia… Meanwhile, the assembly was in a state of confusion. Some shouted one thing, others shouted something else, and most of the crowd didn’t know why they had gathered” (Acts 19:29, 32 Common English Bible).
Societal chaos always begins with deceit and blindness to the Truth. No matter how well laid out man’s reasoning might be, anything that is not of God is confusion. Christ was clear in demonstrating this division between Godly and carnal mindsets. When Christ preached of His death and resurrection, Peter became upset and “took Him (Christ) aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (Mark 8:32-33). As Christ demonstrated through His rebuke to Peter, there is no middle ground for the Truth, it is absolute.
It’s no easy task to separate ourselves from the chaos of the world when surrounded by such turmoil. But that is precisely the reason we are called by God to be lights. “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). We must steady ourselves and stay grounded in that simple yet profound understanding.