“And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.” (Gal. 2:13)
If nothing else is learned in verse 13 we should learn the importance of our example in front of others. When a person of the statue of Barnabas is led astray by the behavior of someone they admire or idolize it should be a reminder of how important our actions are to those who are watching us. Whoever we are, you can be assured that somewhere, someone, is watching us and copying our behavior.
When we see the word hypocritically, we immediately know that whatever happened, it wasn’t in ignorance or a careless mistake. Hypocritical behavior is that which is known to be untrue. A person is a hypocrite when they do what they know to be wrong but pretend it is right. Paul knows that this entire issue had been discussed with all the principals when he was in Jerusalem. Agreement on the gospel was reached and so was the barrier of circumcision. We don’t know who the rest of the Jews were but we know they acted hypocritically.
The sad thing here is that Barnabas, Paul’s companion to the Gentiles, was led to emulate them in this wrong action. He really did know better. My mother loved to remind me that evil companions corrupt good morals. Even strong Christians can be led into sin when they associate with sinners. How do we learn to curse? By being with people who curse. We know that. It’s how most alcohol and drug abuse begin and lots of other wrongdoing.
It is very important as parents that we choose the right friends for our family to associate with. It is also very important that we know about the character and behavior of our children’s friends. They may resent our interference but making sure they stay away from those who make bad choices is our responsibility.
It takes real courage to stand up against the crowd especially when to do so means you are condemning their action. It is so easy to give silent consent, to be on the edge of the crowd. What we may fail to see is that those on the edge eventually get pulled into the core if they hang around long enough. It will take only a minute for you to think of a situation where this happened to you.
Ever wonder how many people shouted, “Crucify him,” without even knowing what was going on?
Task for Today: Don’t be a pretend Christian today. Stand for the right thing and the right way. Reevaluate your friends and the places you go with them, the things you do with them. Consider yourself lest you be tempted to join the crowd. Don’t be a Barnabas and be led astray in someone else’s error.