A funny, fictional, story is told about a crafty tailor who decided to trick the Emperor. The tailor told the Emperor he had specially designed him a suit. What made this suit so special is that only certain people could see it and only foolish people wouldn’t be able to see it. Not wanting to appear foolish, the Emperor pretended he could see the suit and went through the movements of putting it on. Then he proceeded to walk around the castle in his underwear. Also, not wanting to be considered fools, all the Emperor’s advisors and servants pretend to be able to see the clothes and commented on how beautiful they were. The Emperor then decided to lead a parade through the city. His loyal subjects “ah” and “oh” over clothing they couldn’t see. Everyone was lying because they were afraid to tell the truth. If they admit they see the Emperor in his underwear, they will certainly be ridiculed by all their neighbors. Finally, one honest child laughs and blurts out, “The Emperor’s not wearing any clothes!” These bold words encouraged others to speak out as well until finally the truth was known by all; no one could see these “clothes” (Dan Erickson, Sermon on Matthew 14:1-12 “The Price Of Truth,” December 5, 1999).
It’s funny what people will do to avoid looking foolish. We put up with ideas that don’t seem right. We participate in funny social trends (just take a look at some of the YouTube challenges). We even will wear absolutely ridiculous clothing in the name of “fitting in” (go look at the “high fashion” outfits). However, the quickest way to be harshly treated and labeled as foolish is to speak out against ideas our world thinks are right. Speaking against the popular opinion on topics like evolution, homosexuality, drinking, abortion, and sex are sure-fire ways to get people angry and to be labeled as foolish.
God has already spoken clearly on these topics. Ironically, God’s views almost never match up with the popular opinion. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God makes a dramatic statement, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” God is right, every single time.
While siding with God might end up in our being labeled as “foolish,” it’s infinitely more important to “fit in” with God than with men. Our world today desperately needs people to speak up against sinful practices and on matters of spiritual truth, making sure it is done in love (Ephesians 4:15). Like the child in the story, our standing up for truth might just be the spark that can encourage others to do the same.