We Will Take Barabbas - Lessons in Decisions
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How often do we get swayed by public opinion or the popular choice? How often do we choose the easier path, maybe the path of self-interest?
“Let the crowd make the decision.” “We will take Barabbas.”
We read in various books including Matthew and John about the crowd choosing to have Barabbas released rather than Jesus. Pilate gave them a choice and the crowd, already riled up by the high priests, made the “popular” choice in Barabbas. It also provided an “easy out” for the leader, Pilate, as he had found no reason to keep Jesus detained. Yet, he left the decision to the crowd and was ultimately swayed by them.
If you don’t know this story, it’s one rooted in peer pressure and the “popular” interest of a crowd, rather than what is right. How often do we let ourselves get swayed this way? It’s easy in times of turmoil and chatter to get swayed by public or popular opinion, or even swayed by self-interest. Sometimes this is the easy path. Self-deception is the worst deception of all. Are we lying to ourselves? Are you lying to yourself?
We sometimes choose to make decisions we know are wrong. Whether it is culture, self-interest, money or just peer pressure around us, our innate nature is to choose the easier or popular path. We deceive ourselves in thinking it is the right choice when in many cases it isn’t.
As a leader, are you being swayed by any of the various factors noted above? In the face of leading change, there will be many obstacles as we know and many opportunities to take the easier paths. Taking them, such as giving up on a change or idea too soon because some people complained about it or altering a policy you know is needed but some don’t like. Leading change or improvement is tough and will always face some disagreement and challenges. In those moments, how are you as a leader navigating them?
This is not about neglecting to listen to people and collaborating. We want input and involvement. This is more about being swayed by what is “popular” or what best serves self-interest rather than what is right. We saw in the excerpt above how the crowd went with the popular choice and Pilate, as a leader, was swayed by their popular choice, not by what he thought was right. Change leadership needs to be strong leadership. Ask yourself where you stand and hold the line based on principles, your values, and what you believe to be the right path.