Pitfalls of Peer Pressure

Imagine you are a U.S. Representative, and are at one of those fancy White House dinners along with the rest of the U.S. House. The President just concluded the evening by thanking his VP for laying the groundwork of some great policy that would benefit the nation. Mr. President looks directly into your eyes, asking you Representatives to put your full support behind the Vice President’s policy, which indeed not only benefits the country, but would be a feather in the cap of every Congress member who voted for it come next election. The room erupts in cheers and affirmation and it’s all love of country and hope for the future in your heart.

Basking in the goodness and warmth of the wonderful evening, you’re ready to call it a night and head home–when your pocket buzzes. It’s the U.S. House Speaker, and he wants you to meet him at a confidential location ASAP. Curious and not a little concerned, you arrive to find a whole third of the House there and listening to the House Speaker, who is on a platform, eloquently discussing a subject that the entire room seems to agree with. You find a seat and begin to listen. Then blink once and stare for a moment. Then for two moments.

The House Speaker is actively encouraging opposition to the Vice President’s legislation and even suggesting coup. And the entire room is nodding their heads and pounding the tables in agreement. Several colleagues meet your eyes as you gaze in disbelief around the room, and they nod in excitement to you. Isn’t this great? They vibe at you.

What do you do? You know this is as wrong as the government is corrupt, but you are clearly the only one in the room who is against these sentiments. Would you take a stand against such a powerful personage as the House Speaker, someone you have looked up to since arriving in D.C.–and amongst his colleagues too?

Peer Pressure is something every human will experience in their life at one point or another. Whether it is the teenager hesitating as his friends encourage him to inhale the powder, a girl biting her lip when told abortion is her only option, or even a Congress member, knowing in their hearts that supporting this bill would be wrong but doesn’t want to be uninvited from Senator Massive Influence’s cocktail dinner on his yacht next week.

Granted, the extended metaphor above is fictional, but what would you do if you were in that situation, amongst people who you consider your friends, and they are expecting you to do something your conscience is screaming at you to not do? Yes we all know what we ought to do, yet knowing and acting on said knowledge are two very different things.

So next time you are caught between what others you care about expect or tell you to do versus what your conscience is saying, just remember:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

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