While some peer pressure is the result of others seeking validation for their preferences and lifestyle choices, at other times, it can arise from more villainous motives. Throughout our lives, we repeatedly encounter those whose goal is to intentionally harass us into doing something that they know we believe to be wrong.
Whether it’s fudging a little on your time card (after all, five minutes now and then doesn’t really matter), taking home those nifty company pens (the store name is on them because they want it spread around), or telling a few off-color stories, the pressure to “conform” can be intense. If you want to counter this type of “enforced pressure” without compromising your faith, you must determine Who you serve before the pressure is on.
Why am I mentioning this principle for a second time? Quite simply because it’s an important one. I used to get a big laugh out of customers who would walk down an aisle, see me stocking shelves in my red company vest and ask, “Do you work here?” Mentally, I always found myself thinking, “No, I just randomly stock shelves wherever I shop,” or better yet, “No, this is just a hobby. I have uniforms for every store in town.” Of course I worked there! The very fact that I was stocking the store’s shelves made it (or should have made it) obvious.
Unfortunately, for many Christians, what seems glaringly obvious in a workplace situation isn’t always so clear in a spiritual one. So let me put it simply: as Christians, God is our Boss; We don’t stock the Devil’s shelves. We don’t give into pressure to do the wrong things just because it feels good or makes us fit in any more than we would provide free labor at Walmart while working for Shopko. To do so just doesn’t make sense.
The truth is that most people who exert this type of “enforced” peer pressure don’t do it because they want us to fit in. They do it because they want us to trip up. The Bible tells us in John 3:20 that “They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished.” Christians, especially those committed to following Christ in their daily lives, are lights in the darkness. This will likely make at least a few of our co-workers uncomfortable. Since they can’t stay away from us, some of them will intentionally try to justify their point of view by invalidating ours. In proving our hypocrisy, they dim the very light which exposes theirs.
By determining Who we serve beforehand (and steeling ourselves to stand firm), we’re heading this tactic off at the pass. When the difficult situations arise, there will be no question in our minds about the right thing to do… and we’ll know exactly where to get the strength to do it! We must kneel in prayer. Ask God for help. Then stand our ground.