“So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” Mark 15:15
There are two motivations that drive the heart of the sinner. The motivation to please other people or the motivation to please yourself. The funny thing is that when we endeavor to please others we’re usually only doing it because it is a means toward pleasing ourselves. So I guess that means there’s really only one motivation for the sinful heart.
Ultimately, I guess there’s nothing really wrong with trying to please ourselves or other people. Success in business demands that at least to a minimum degree we provide a service or a product that pleases the people we hope will purchase it. In education, when a student submits a project, paper, or test they do the work in such a way as they think will be pleasing to their teacher. In fact, my success as a student increased relative to my ability to understand and anticipate what my teacher would ask for and require. When I was simply trying to learn as much as I could about the subject I often didn’t do nearly as well. My secret to academic success was studying how to make my teacher happy.
The problem with living to make others happy comes when that motivation leads us to do wrong. Pilate knew that the crowd was pushing him to commit an injustice. Pilate himself declared that Jesus was an innocent man. But Pilate needed to please this crowd. Caesar, in Roman, had charged him with keeping the peace in Judea and failure to do so would have severe consequences. So he was pushed into a corner where he had to chose between pleasing the people or doing what’s right.
Ellen White wrote, “The greatest want of the world is the want of men – men who will not be bought or sold; … men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”
When the going gets tough it’s easy to run for the cover of committing an expedient wrong in an attempt to preserve the greater good. But friends the greater good is never preserved by sacrificing moral integrity. The greater good is best preserved when each man, and each woman, and each child are taught to know, and to do, and to fight to defend and to advance that which is right.
To do any less to is to undermine society and replace its foundation with shifting sand.