What if you've given in to peer pressure? How do you get back on track?
I understand what you're asking. I have been in many situations where my friends have pressured me into doing things that weren't right. In all of these situations, I could have stood up for what was right and told my friends that this activity wasn't the right thing to do. But I didn't because I thought that they would just make fun of me and do it anyway.
It would have been very helpful at the time to turn to something I've grown up with my whole life -- the Bible. Often times when you are in a situation where you're faced with a decision because peers are pressuring you, it's very helpful to have an example of what the right thing to do is. The Bible is full of these wonderful examples, and the lessons it teaches can be very helpful when you're in doubt as to what to do.
One lesson that is helpful comes from the story of Moses. Moses needed incredible amounts of moral courage to be able to stand up to the Pharaoh. Moses wanted the Pharaoh to free his people -- the children of Israel. Even though things didn't look too good for Moses (Pharaoh was very stubborn and mean and kept changing his mind), the good consequences of Moses' moral courage made up for all the hard things that he faced. Because Moses made the right decisions by listening to God, Moses freed the Pharaoh's slaves. This story shows that standing up for what's right is the right thing to do, even if it's hard. The after-effects are great and full of blessings.
Making the right decisions throughout your life -- despite peer pressure -- is one of the hardest things to do. It's also one of the most important things to do. It's not too late to exercise moral courage and refuse to let other people drag you into things that you know are wrong, like doing drugs or smoking.
There are many lessons in the Bible that still apply to us today, lessons that can give us the courage to stand up for what is right. It's never too late to start.
A.H., age 14
Sometimes it's tempting to think that we've given into peer pressure too much to come back and do the right thing. But that's not what Jesus would say. Jesus would have compassion on us, tell us not to sin (to make mistakes, to believe that we're separate from God) any more, and to live a life of God-impelled love. And he would tell us to start right now.
Remember what Jesus did when the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman who was committing adultery? They were trying to catch Jesus, since the law was to stone her. Jesus told them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7). After they left, Jesus let the woman know that he didn't condemn her. He affirmed, "Go now and leave your life of sin" (8:11). We can be assured that her life was transformed. This woman was at death's door, but Jesus showed her that it wasn't too late. It's never too late to feel God's love. We just need to make sure that we allow God's love to transform our lives.
Also, one of the best things about the Bible is that the stories and lessons from so long ago can always be applied to our lives today. We can look at the Bible characters, learn from their mistakes and their achievements, and draw direct connections to the issues we face right now.