“If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you?” I have heard my mom say something like this a hundred times in my lifetime. It usually was preceded by me wanting to do something that she didn’t want me to do. When I replied, “but everyone else is doing it,” that is when I would get the remark.
As an adult, I can understand that she was protecting me from doing something stupid or dangerous. But, as a child, I just thought that she was being unreasonable and flat out mean. My friends would rub in the fact that they got to go to the party, the lake, or out on a double date. It felt like I was the only person in the world sitting home on a Saturday night, stuck watching my younger sister doing cartwheels in the living room.
The crazy thing was, I didn’t really want to go to the party, the lake, or out on a double date. But, if all of my friends were doing that, then I felt like I should too. It is funny what peer pressure can make you do as a child, and if you are not careful, it can land you in hot water.
When I was old enough to drive, my mother (she was a meanie) would tell me that I had to come straight home from practice. It never failed that one of my friends needed a ride home since their parents couldn’t come and pick them up. Nowadays, we would pick up the cellphone and call to see if it was alright, but that luxury didn’t exist back then. What could I do? I couldn’t leave my friend stranded.
I would take them home, but since I was afraid that I would be in trouble, I would swear that I had come straight home. It didn’t take long before they took my car away from me, and I was honestly happy to see it go. With the car gone, I wasn’t being put in that situation again. My mom still laughs about this today and how it would take me over an hour to get home from practice when we lived ten minutes away. Lol!
I am sure all of you have some version of peer pressure that you can recall. I was lucky that my pressure was only to give a friend a ride home. Some people are pressured into trying cigarettes, smoking pot, drinking alcohol, or having sex before they are ready. Peer pressure is nothing to laugh about, and it doesn’t end when you become an adult.
How many of you feel a little “pressure” when you see your friends going to Disney? Maybe, it is when they are sporting around in a new car and yours in on its last legs. Maybe the pressure is to talk about another friend, even though it makes you feel uncomfortable.
When I was traveling, I can’t remember what city I was in; I was riding down an elevator when a lady got on at another floor. As we rode down to the lobby, she looked over at me and commented about the embellished cross necklace that I was wearing. “That cross is beautiful,” she said, I thanked her and told her where I had bought it. Then she said something that has stuck with me, even though the city eludes me. She said, “you are very brave to wear that.”
I am from the Bible Belt, so it is normal for someone to wear a cross necklace, say, “have a blessed day,” or say, “I’ll pray for you.” So, I never thought anything about openly displaying my faith and love for the Lord. She, however, seemed very reluctant and almost afraid to do the same. I know that it might be dangerous in some parts of the world to say that you are a Christian, but I never thought about that happening here in the US.
That got me thinking, how many keep their faith to themselves because of being afraid of what their co-workers, friends, neighbors, or family members might think? Do we let peer pressure get to us?
Or, like when we were kids, do we go along with the crowd even though we think something is wrong? Do we laugh at raunchy jokes, watch television shows that make us feel uncomfortable, cuss because our friends do, or “embellish” the truth to make us sound like we are something that we aren’t?
This is not a new concept, and the Bible is full of verses that show that they also dealt with this issue.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,do not give in to them.
2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wickedor walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;turn from it and go on your way.
1 Blessed is the onewho does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners takeor sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,and who meditates on his law day and night.
The Bible warns us to stay away from bad company and people who are a bad influence.
1 Corinthians 15:33
33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
I wish that I could say that I am not influenced to do things that I think are wrong, but it is a struggle even now. That is when I go to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. I beg Him to please make me stronger and able to resist the temptation to fit in with the crowd. Spending time with the wrong crowd can land me in hot water, or even worse, hot flames. But, putting on the armor of Christ will protect me, guide me, and maybe even put pressure on “them” to act like me.
This is not the first time that I have addressed the “pressure” that we feel, HERE is a post from 2018 that you might also like.
To God Goes The Glory!
Have A Blessed Day!