On January 28, 1986 the Challenger space shuttle launched up into the air. There was so much anticipation for this flight. Kids and adults alike were excited to watch the launch live. As it took off, everything looked good, but seconds later it exploded killing all seven people on board.
How could this happen? After an in depth investigation, an “o ring” was thought be to at fault. This ring had not expanded properly in the frigid temperatures, and caused the gas leak that led to the explosion. So then the question was why did Nasa launch at all in the cold and not wait until a day when the temperature was over 53 degrees, the safest temperature for the “O ring” to work properly?
The answer to what happened that day is a phenomenon known as “group think.” Group think is when a whole group of people makes a decision together even when there are people in the room who are uneasy with the outcome of that decision. It is when no one in the room claims individual responsibility for the decision. Group think is exactly what happened with the Challenger that day.
So often, we too struggle with group think.
There are so many situations in our lives where we encounter things that make us feel uneasy, but so often we don’t take personal responsibility thinking someone else will help with the problem at hand.
For instance, for me, the times I have the most uneasiness in my conscience is when I am faced with poverty. Leaving Walmart in Front Royal I often see people standing there with signs: “Homeless please help.” “Hungry, please help.” This is when I feel the Holy Spirit, my gut, my God conscience telling me to help this person, then the light turns green and I go to my comfortable home where I have food and do not want after anything, hoping someone else will help. I defer responsibility and end up doing nothing. In our humanity, we all struggle to act even when our conscience is uneasy.
This Sunday we continue the fourth week in our “Wesley Challenge” Sermon Series. Our question for today is “Do I Insist Upon Doing Something That Makes My Conscience Uneasy?”
Our conscience can become uneasy for many reasons. Maybe we are not doing something we feel like we should be doing. Maybe we have done something that we know we are not supposed to do and can’t seem to make ourselves stop. This is our struggle with sin in our humanity. I love the way the Apostle Paul describes this struggle in Romans 7:15-20:
“15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
Followers of Christ, have been struggling with sin for so long. We sincerely desire to do God’s will, but so often we make decisions that glorify ourselves and not God. I think this is why God has blessed us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. God dwelling within us to help us. Those feelings of uneasiness are there for a reason. It is God telling us to stop doing what we are doing, or telling us that we need to help someone. May we all be open to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives this week and always.
Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. Thank you for speaking to us and showing us how we can be agents of new life to those around us by turning away from sin and turning towards you. Be with us this week until we meet again. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
– For information about “The Challenger”