Sunday, January 25, 2009

Peer Pressure

Jennifer and I were reading John 9 this morning about the healing of the man born blind. One of the interesting parts of the story is the reaction of the blind guy's parents. There's a revealing little parenthesis about them right in the middle of the story. They try to stay as far removed from what's happening as possible. Why?...

"His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue" (9:22).

They folded under peer pressure. It's tempting to think that only teenagers are faced with peer pressure, but if we do a little digging around in our hearts, we'll find that we often fold under peer pressure as well.

Peter G. van Breeman writes:
"How much good is left undone because of our fear of the opinion of others! We are immobilized by the thought: what will others say? The irony of all this is that the opinions we fear most are not those of people we really respect, yet these same persons influence our lives more than we want to admit. This enervating fear of our peers can create an appalling mediocrity" (quoted in Brennan Manning's "Posers, Fakers & Wannabes).

It's uncomfortably revealing to consider what we do either for the applause of others, or what we do to avoid the criticism of others...