Peer Pressure : A New Look
By Don Loftis
Recently a lady who was celebrating her 104th birthday was being interviewed by a local reporter. He asked her, “What is the best thing about being 104 years old?” Without hesitation she replied, “No peer pressure.”
The pressure to conform to the crowd or to follow the advice of another has always been around. Eve influenced Adam, Rebecca influenced Jacob, and Ananias influenced Sapphira. Teens are pressured to drink alcohol or try drugs. Adults are pushed to laugh at a dirty joke, become workaholics, or get a divorce. All of us face temptations to be like others–to be a chameleon in our own culture.
The Bible addresses the issue in texts like Proverbs 1:10, 15, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path.” The same writer adds in 14:7, “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.” Paul warns in I Cor. 15:33, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.”
However, peer pressure does not have to be negative. The pull to conform does not have to be in a sinful direction. One sign of Christian maturity is leadership that causes others to be better. It is an influential voice for purity, morality, and compassion. It is a fearless and compelling example of virtue. We must not forget Paul’s influence on Timothy or Aquila and Priscilla’s on Apollos. We each have the power to lead the race, set the pace, and help others do what is right.