Peer Pressure

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington


How do you stand up for something that's right when your peers are pressuring you to do the wrong thing?


The question is really about having enough moral courage, about being an advocate for what you know is ethical, even if you stand alone. When I walk through the halls of my school, it is generally a nice and loving environment, but occasionally there are some people who are not doing the right thing. Sometimes I've stepped in and said things like, "Hey, guys, there's no need for that." Although their responses could be intimidating, they wouldn't stop me or others from wanting to do the right thing.

Even though David, the shepherd boy, was small, and Goliath was huge and intimidating, David knew that the moral thing, the right thing, to do was to try to protect his town and people. By taking action, he demonstrated moral courage (Sam 17:20-27) – and he won.

Another person who was full of moral courage was Jesus. He showed tremendous courage in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus didn't take the easy way out by fleeing to a friend's house. He stayed in the Garden because he knew the right thing to do was to be obedient to God (Matt 26:36-56). His obedience enabled him to endure the crucifixion and then rise from the dead and finally ascend – to be the Way-Shower for all of us. Both David and Jesus showed moral courage by obeying God.

High School Student

Editor's Note:
It takes a lot of strength and bravery to stand up for principle (for doing the right thing) when other people are pressuring us to ignore principles. It can also be pretty scary sometimes, especially if we're not 100% sure what the right thing is.

When we obey God, we can be sure that we are doing the right thing, even though it may be tough. When the children of Israel were facing scary situations, both Moses (Ex 14:13) and Joshua told them not to fear: "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you" (2 Chron 20:17).

When we have the moral courage to listen to and follow God's direction, God works everything out for us – just as the Bible people proved.

So when we find ourselves in situations which require moral courage, we can follow the lead of David and Jesus. Jesus always wanted to help others. Having this goal will make us feel more secure when we face challenges. We, too, may find that making sacrifices, fighting for what's right, yielding to God, and standing with God are more rewarding than we could imagine.

When we stand for the right, and others see our example, they just may want to do what's right, too.