Drinking the Kool-Aid

In 1978 the Jonestown Tragedy in Guyana took the lives of 918 people. Members of the People’s Temple unquestionably followed a misguided leader named Jim Jones. Jones convinced his congregation to drink cyanide laced Kool-Aid. Not one person refused to do so.

Meet Sally and Cindy, two dimple cheeked, beribboned cuties, who play hopscotch, ride bikes, dance in their pajamas and share each other’s secrets. As the years pass, their friendship blossoms. They share the joys and heartaches of their lives thinking the relationship will last for always. But it doesn’t. The friendship unravels and there is an ugly split. Sally tries to keep the matter private amongst their mutual friends, but Cindy prefers to rally the troops and form sides. Moving on with her life, Sally decides to host a dinner party for all of her friends. The friends graciously accept her invitation with no intention of actually attending. You see, they drank the Kool-Aid. These once mutual friends blindly took up the mantle of Cindy’s cause, with no real knowledge of the circumstances. Not one friend stood up for Sally.

An airline executive decides to take a safety shortcut that will save the company money. This shortcut could potentially endanger the lives of innocent travelers. The crew member charged with carrying out the directive sees the danger, but unwilling to risk his job, keeps quiet and does as he was told. The plane crashes, everyone on board dies. Why? Someone drank the Kool-Aid.

Do you see where I am going with this? When we mindlessly follow the crowd someone gets hurt. God created us to be unique individuals. He blessed us with the capacity to think and reason. What if ONE person in Jonestown had stood up and said, “This crazy, I’m not drinking that poison”? Perhaps others would have followed suit. What if ONE of Sally and Cindy’s friends had said, “I’m not choosing sides,” and instead opted to be a catalyst for healing the relationship? What if the crew member said, “This is not safe and I won’t do it”? Maybe the airline would have found safer alternative.

Being the lone voice of reasonable dissent is not always easy, but personally, I’ll take standing alone versus drinking the Kool-Aid and dying any day!


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