November 12, 2012 – Moral Courage and Peer Pressure

Recently I heard a comment that has stuck in my mind.

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 years ago 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.  Exodus is clear that following  the crowd will most likely lead to evil.  So, I guess my mom was right when she asked me, “If everyone jumps off a cliff to their death, will you follow?”

Exodus 23:2 says: “Do not follow the crowd into doing evil.

I had never really considered that ‘going against the crowd’ was courageous though I guess 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).

I know it’s difficult to raise children with values and morals in a society that has lost its moral compass.  I know it’s difficult to home school when the rest of the world is being educated differently.  I know its difficult to be family-centered when everyone else is school-centered or even church-centered.  I know 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 ‘things of their peers’.   It’s not easy reminding your children that being a ‘friend of the world’ is being an ‘enemy of God.‘   I know it’s difficult to go a different spiritual direction than family and friends because of a deeply-rooted conviction.

“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 in the Bible always seemed like a no-brainer.   Walking out our faith seemed 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.

No, 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.  I have heard the statement “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.”  This is the final result of peer pressure that begins the moment we allow the world to make our choices – we fall for everything – including evil.

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

The Scripture speaks of a remnant.  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.  I’m guessing it is those left over, surviving people who have not only moral, but and spiritual courage to stand against peer pressure who make up the remnant because they end up standing alone for what is pure, right, noble, true, admirable, praiseworthy.

©2012 Tent Stake Ministries

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