Moral Courage and Peer Pressure

Moral courage is the ability to say ‘no’ to peer pressure.

By definition courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.  Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

I remember as a new believer having a pastor ask me, “Where in the Bible is the majority right?”  I thought about his question for a minute or two along with the thought, “Is this a trick question?”  So, I answered, “Nowhere.”

I was right.  Nowhere in the Scriptures is the crowd right.

“Do not follow the crowd into doing evil” (Exodus 23:2).

Exodus says that following  the crowd will most likely lead to evil.  My mom was right when she asked me, “If everyone jumps off a cliff to their death, will you follow?”

I had never really considered that ‘going against the crowd’ was courageous though it does take courage to say ‘no’ when everyone else is saying ‘yes’.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

It’s difficult to raise children with values and morals in a culture that has lost its moral compass.  It’s difficult to home school when the rest of the world is being educated differently.  It’s  difficult to be family-centered when everyone else is school-centered or even church-centered.  It’s  difficult to teach children the difference between  being ‘in the world’ and not ‘of the world’ while keeping their focus on ‘things above’ and not on ‘things of their peers’.   It’s not easy teaching your children that being a ‘friend of the world’ is being an ‘enemy of God.’   It’s difficult to go a different spiritual direction than family and friends because of  deeply-held convictions.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7).

I never thought of myself or our family as being courageous.  Standing against those things that are not in the Bible and for those things that are seems like a no-brainer.   Walking out our faith seems easy when having to choose between God or man.   Even when we were being ridiculed, attacked, challenged, judged, and cut-off from those we cared about, we always knew that we were on the right path.

The crowd was never right in Scripture and it’s not right in the schools, the church, the government or even some families.   Peer pressure is nothing more than  pulling those who do not have courage to stand into a place where they probably should not go.  There’s always the statement, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.”  This is the end result of peer pressure that begins the moment we allow the world to help us make decisions–we will fall for everything including evil.

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5).

A remnant is something left over; a remainder; a piece of fabric after the rest has been used or sold, a small surviving group of people.  Those left over, those surviving people have not only moral, but spiritual courage to stand against peer pressure.   They make up the remnant because they had the courage to stand for what is pure, right, noble, true, admirable, praiseworthy.

©November 2012 Tent Stake Ministries

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