It is not just teenagers that have to deal with peer pressure. Even adults face peer pressure. Peer pressure comes from a group of people who try to make you be just like them. It makes them feel safer, more confident, and more powerful if they can get more people to be just like them.
In the days after the tragic shooting incidents in recent weeks and months, it has become clear that there is peer pressure to be tough and carry a gun. It has become clear that there is peer pressure for police to be tough and shoot someone, or they might seem weak and be injured themself with a hidden weapon. It has become clear that there is peer pressure to follow the crowds and push people around, and yell at them, and hit them just because they look different or they don’t agree with your politics.
Watching the news, I have seen the outcomes of this peer pressure. It is sad to see so much anger and hate. It is sad to see so many young lives lost. And it seems there are no answers to the violence.
There are a few hopeful incidents that show there are some people who do not bend to peer pressure.
There were the police in Dallas who ran into danger to protect peaceful protesters, while a sniper picked off several policemen. There were peaceful protesters who just want people to acknowledge that there is a race problem and it needs to be addressed. There were children of black men killed by police, who are not angry, but they are sad and afraid, and they want to feel safe to live normal lives. They want things to change. There are people who see injustice and they turn on their phone camera so there is proof of what happened. These people have all stood up to peer pressure and have chosen a better way. This gives me hope.
At my church this weekend the ministers chose another way.
Ministers talked to us about how God loves us all, no matter what color we are. They talked about in Heaven there will be people of every race and every country. They talked about Christians are supposed to love one another and encourage one another, not ignore, not criticize, not blame, not hate. They talked about the church that believes in Jesus Christ is the light to this crazy violent world.
As Christians, we carry the light, and that light is the only hope for this world to be saved. Only the church is equipped to shine a light out of the darkness of hate and violence.
Only the church can offer all people the way to be saved. It is not by guns.
It is by faith in Jesus Christ!
At my church, you can listen to the sermon message online. This weekend July 16-17, the message was on “Mob Mentality”. You can listen to the message free on itunes under “Tomoka Christian Church weekends” . I hope they include the talk after the sermon of the two ministers talking about the church having the solution for the violence. One of the ministers is black, and the other white. They both love Jesus. (Sorry, but there is a 1 week delay on itunes, so you will have to wait until next weekend July 23rd or later to listen.)