Peer pressure comes up in most of our lives, so how do you say, "No"?
First, it's helpful to know that facing our fears and saying no to peer pressure can be done. Many people have dealt with situations that are worse than anything we may ever face. In the Bible, Daniel dealt with a lot of peer pressure because he worshipped God. This got him in trouble, and he was thrown into a den of lions. But he was protected. In fact, the Bible tells us, "Daniel prospered" (Dan. 6:28).
Although our situations may not be as bad as Daniel's, they are still problems. As teenagers, we face a lot of peer pressure: our peers try to make us take drugs, have sex, skip class. So, how do we react? Often the situations that come up seem like the cool thing to do, and there's a lot of pressure to be cool. What if a so-called "friend" puts the pressure on us to skip class, and we say, "No"? He or she might just say, "Oh, come on. It's only once." Is it that big of a deal if we do something just once? But "just once" usually isn't. It usually leads to a lot more times. Although "no" may be easy to pronounce, it really is quite hard to say when you actually come to face the problem. But the right thing to do is to say, "No." And if that person won't let "no" be our answer, then that person isn't being a real friend. It's important to know who our real friends are, and we may need to ask ourselves what makes a good friend.
We also have to be prepared to face any situation by knowing what's right. If something is wrong, we have to know deeply the reason "no" is the answer. Once we have given the answer, "no," we stand firm, unwilling to be changed, no matter how difficult or fearful the situation might be. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and strength to say, "No." The courage to say "no" comes from God and from trusting totally in God. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were being pressured into worshiping the statue the king had made, they wouldn't, even though they knew the consequence was death. When King Nebuchadnezzar asked them about it, they told him to his face that they wouldn't worship it. So, the king had them thrown into the fiery furnace. This problem did not stop them from believing in God, though. Like Daniel, they knew God would save them. They came out of the furnace without any burns or ashes or even "the smell of fire" on them (Dan. 3:27). After that, they were even promoted.
The men who went into the fiery furnace and into the lions' den had such a great understanding and faith in God that that was all they needed. They did not need to worship someone or something else to become "cool." They just prayed to God, and God kept them safe. He also made their lives better. Although it may be hard, saying "no" to the wrong things is the right answer. In our lives, we should not have to do something wrong just to feel good about ourselves. We should do the right thing because we know it is right. And doing what's right is really what makes us feel good about ourselves.
Marianna Hronek, freshman
One of the ideas that can really help you say "no" is to know that you're better than the temptations. Even though parties on "The OC" might look fun and easy, and even though temptations are completely surrounding you, you have a greater power than all the temptations on your side. You have God. In the Bible we read, "In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion" (Psalm 71). When you trust in the Lord, then there is no room for any other human power to gain control. God is the greatest strength, and he is just as reliable now as a thousand years ago with David and Moses.
That's why you can say, "No," when you're at a party and a guy who you've hardly said two things to wants to kiss you and is way too upfront with you. And even if he says, "What if I did it anyway?," You can tell him, "Don't." This type of situation is not fun, especially when you know that the guy doesn't want to end it at kissing. Yet, because you "trust in the Lord," you can keep your integrity no matter how cute the person may be. Plus, you know you'd only end up getting hurt, anyway. You also know that above all things, you must be true to yourself. Deep down you know that you have no reason to pursue this relationship. It's especially wrong if it is solely a sexual one because you're not respecting him or yourself. I was always taught that the more you allow yourself to be used, the less you will respect yourself. Self respect is very important. How can you expect others to respect you if you don't respect yourself?
Kathryn Gaines, 9th grader