“You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
Not so long ago, I watched a compelling, and perhaps horrifying, social experiment. It was about how far can a person be pressured by their peers into doing things they know to be unethical, immoral, and even illegal. Astoundingly, it doesn’t take much to get someone to do something contrary to their nature, especially when they’re just following the crowd or trying to please people; first with a few small innocent compromises, but each compromise makes the next easier. I realized that the experiment was a lot like sin, it never starts with a big and obvious evil, and thoughts of resistance can quickly be drowned out by the lie that if everyone else is doing it then it can’t be wrong.
There have been times in my life when I was able to stand up to pressure, that I looked towards the group and said “no,” unfortunately, there are also many times when I failed to do that. Sometimes it’s hard to be the voice of dissent in the crowd, especially when staying quiet is so much easier. That may have been what Peter was thinking before he denied that he knew Jesus three times, but Peter also experienced that sorrow of realizing he stood in the face of tribulation and failed (Luke 22:56-62).
This is a struggle everyone has to face, both in the world and in the Church, to do what’s right or to be complaisant. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to say for certain where we will stand when faced with such a choice—even Peter was confident he would stay with Jesus—but we can prepare our hearts for when we do. Studying the Bible, and growing not only in our understanding but in our relationship with God is fundamental in standing for Him when we ultimately must make our decisions of who to follow; the world, or our Lord. Jesus never promised that following him would be easy—in fact he stated the opposite—but he did promise that whatever cost we face in this world, would be worth the price.
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.’” Luke 9:23-24