You shall not follow the masses in doing evil...” Exodus 23:2
It has always been much simpler for teenagers, and everyone else for that matter, to follow the crowd. No one wants to get left behind and why would they? With there being a never-ending barrage of new fads and styles, it’s difficult not to get caught in the rush. But what are we all rushing towards?
Pleasure. We are caught up in a world in which not many people have goals which extend past their own self pleasure; hedonism. We are caught up in a world where what is important isn’t what is right or full of integrity, but what makes us feel good.
And by seeking only pleasure we can no longer relate with others. Allowing others to sweep you into the continual search for self-satisfaction may make you feel as if you are one of them. It may even make you feel that you are part of a team, but you are not. The only person a search for pleasure benefits is you and if pleasure is the only thing on your mind, you will become an island.
If you could only stop and look for a moment you may see that it’s only a circle. You cannot ever have the perfect style or conduct. You cannot find fulfilment through joining the never-ending spiral of fads simply because there is nothing to fulfil. You can never obtain the perfect life because there is no such thing as the perfect life.
But the closest we can get to perfection is through Jesus Christ.
Peer pressure is a strange topic because it’s been emphasised so much that it has become a cliché. Most 10 year olds in church would know what to do “when sinners entice [them].” For the majority of teenagers who believe, peer pressure does not extend to the extremes. We know to abstain from violence and to keep our chastity. The problem comes when asked where to draw the line.
“Was that joke really that bad?”
“It’s not actually wrong if I only do it a little.”
“The bible doesn’t explicitly say that...”
The key is solidarity. Draw the line and make sure you don’t cross it for anything. Still, this leaves the question of where the line should be drawn. I cannot stress the importance of honouring your parents enough. If they are deeply rooted in God, they will only ask you to do what they believe is best, but they shouldn’t be your only source of guidance. Having to be told everything to do at this age really isn’t healthy. So yes, listen to your parents and other church leaders. Listen to ministers and men of God both at church as well as online (though you must choose carefully). And yes, listen and talk to good friends who share your faith. However, the most important and valuable way to learn what is right or wrong is to search it for yourself; read the bible and form your own personal relationship with God.
When others instruct you, you may not know why they ask you to act a certain way, and this may lead to disobedience, or compromise. Learn what is right and consolidate it with why it is right through reading the word.
Peer pressure is difficult to deal with, yes. But once you’ve drawn that line, don’t let anyone push you over it.