faith within social peer pressure

Faith amidst social peer pressure

Recently, a co-worker asked if I could help him design a graphic for pride month. I kindly informed him that I did not support pride month from a moral standing and would not feel comfortable to help him with his task. By the grace of God, I have been blessed to be in a company that is understanding of my moral stands and doesn’t have the same social peer pressure as other work environments. However for many, the backlash that would come from this act/statement would be far worse. The fear of loosing a job, being chewed out by coworkers, or being ostracized is real in other environments. The concept that if you’re not for us, you’re spewing hate against us because you don’t agree with actions from a moral standing, is a prevalent mentality in our day and age.

So what happens when your view of social issues don’t align with the masses due to moral conflicts? The protective barrier that comes for social peer pressure to suppress any “undesirable” standing that isn’t popular to the masses continues to increase each generation. Society hides their hostility under the pretext that they are “squashing hate” when in actuality, the hostility they express is hate in itself. What do you expect when the golden standard for assessing whether a social issue is right or wrong depends on looking inwardly to imperfect humans over putting it to the standards of a perfect God?

If you’re a Christian, how does this affect the way you stand for Christ’s moral and absolute truth? Do you crumble under the social peer pressure or stay quiet due to fear and the stigma of “rocking the boat”? Do you fear the masses?

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,”

(2 Timothy 1:7-8 ESV)

Timothy was living in a time where he not only faced social roman persecution lead under Nero who used Christians as scapegoats and burned them alive, but also internal hostility from the Ephesian church who resented his leadership on top of assaults by false teachers and their deceptive doctrines. Being attacked from all sides is taxing on anybody. But Paul put it beautifully to him that as a true believer, he had been given by Christ the:

  • spirit of power
    which comes from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit that continually develops moral power and excellence of soul giving strength and boldness. A power beyond human abilities that can only come from the Lord.
  • love
    that which is unchanging, not dictated by lust or selfishness but that which is genuine love for the well-being of other people.
  • and self-control
    which gives the ability to clear and focus the mind on what is truly important; not focusing on the temporary but the eternal, that which is pleasing to God.

To fear the social masses instead of standing firm on morals and truths should not be in our vocabulary. In fearing, we are looking selfishly and inwardly which means our reliance on the Lord is weak. Every time we give in to society’s peer pressure, we weaken our testimony of Christ’s transforming power in our lives. I will be the first to admit how ashamed I am when I catch myself crumbling in that position. But if we truly love others the way Christ loves us, we cannot be looking inwardly. If we are truly convicted of the truth the Lord has revealed to us, we will not be ashamed to tell others nor withstand suffering for what is right. If we are truly looking to God and focusing on Him, we will be clear in our vision and have boldness in standing firm for the truth no matter how unpopular it is.

We will never be free of persecution because the mass society and humans by fallen nature hate God. Morals and truth will never be a popular pill to swallow. However I pray that if you are a Christian, that you would stand firm in not compromising the faith in even the smallest matters, while showing it in genuine love. In doing so, there is no doubt that pleasing Christ will be a far greater reward than any secular, social acceptance you can ever gain in this lifetime.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

(James 1:12 ESV)
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