“Fitting in” with Society

For most teens, one of the most important things in life is friends. 

Yet statistically speaking, approximately 90% of teenagers living right now are experiencing peer pressure. Peer pressure is extremely common in teen years, whether they are Christians or not. As Christians, even though we are willing to serve God and follow Him, the world thinks otherwise. 

 A classic example is when your friends plan a hangout on a Sunday, and all your friends are going to be there. You know that you have church every Sunday. But if you say no, you are afraid of the consequences: Your friends might think of you as ‘too churchy’ or even question you about why you value all these Christian things so much. You know it’s wrong, yet, you still question yourself about it. This is because, as teens living in this society right now, we try to seek acceptance from friends since it’s a very important component of our teen lives. We want to have friends and be accepted by others, even if it may mean risking some things in life and doing what we might not want to do. As John Piper, a theologian, states: “You desperately want to be liked, but deep down you know this is slavery.”

Saying ‘no’ to your friends

So we know that there are many side effects to saying ‘no’ to your friends, whether it’s good or bad. We might think that there are more negative effects than positive. Losing friends, acceptance, reputation… etc. They are all negative effects. 

But we were created to be different from the world. We were made to be set apart from the world – to be loved and owned by God forever. Hence, we have to know when to say ‘no’ when something goes out of the boundaries of what’s right, even if it may mean losing friends and being rejected by them. 

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19.

What’s more worth it: Friends, or God?

When debating on whether you should value your friendship or God more, due to our state as sinful humans, we would probably choose friends. However, there is something big we all are missing. That is, we often forget, or even do not realize, that friends will not last forever. Friends will eventually go away. As it is written in Colossians 3:1-2, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” As humans on this earth, we must set our eyes not upon the stuff on earth, because all these earthly things will eventually pass away, but rather, set our eyes on something of eternal value – your everlasting God.

“Nah, I won’t get influenced.”

This is a very common phrase that we say. We think we’re strong enough to hang out with our friends without being influenced. Yet often when we say such things, it turns out we’re very weak, and we don’t have the strength to pull back from the wrong things our friends do. There are only two options when talking about influencing each one another: Either you influence the person, or you get influenced by the person.

Proverbs13:20 clearly says: 

 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Having the freedom and privilege of choosing your own friends can be nice, but it becomes riskier for us as we can choose the wrong friends to hang out with – that is, the ones that may become a bad influence on us.

Whoever you choose to hang out with, they can definitely influence you. That’s why it’s important to choose friends who truly value God and are true followers of Christ.

The Importance of a Christian Community.

Having a Christian community is very important. You might not find friends at school who actually value Christ. We all need a Christian community where we can all be comfortable with each other and share whatever it is that’s in our hearts, that we might not be able to do with our school friends or other friends.

A Christian community can support, help, and pray for you when you are facing troubles. And together as a community, we tend to be stronger in faith than when we are facing them alone. It’s important to know people that you can trust that to support you, and may even be having the same problems as you, so you can face them together, as a community.

So what now?

We must remember that as Christians, we will never fit in. We must expect that already, and as a result, we cannot “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 
Instead of trying to fit in, we can “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” as 1 Timothy 4:12 says. And you never know, by doing the right thing, maybe you might become a good influence on those around you!

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Footsteps to Forgiveness

Do you know that one person that you dislike? They might have done something wrong to you or hurt your feelings in some way. We think that what this person has done is unforgivable. Be honest – I’m sure at least one person has done something wrong to you, whether it’s friends, families, siblings, or even teachers. You might be feeling like I’m forcing you to forgive this person and making another big deal out of this. But it’s way more than that. You’ll find, at the end of the article, that there’s something bigger we all could be missing.

Did you know we did something way worse than what that person has done to you. The truth is, each of us has sinned many times before God. We’ve done terrible things, yet, he still forgives us. 

“If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,

Lord, who could stand?

But with you there is forgiveness,

so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

Psalm 130:3-4

How many times should we forgive?

Even though we’ve done countless sins that break God’s heart, He is still merciful to us and keeps forgiving us. And he would like us to do the same to others, even if it means forgiving them over and over again. A passage in the Bible shows how much God would like us to forgive others who have done wrong to us. 

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

 Matthew 18:21-22

Jesus didn’t want us to forgive 7 times, but 70 times 7 times (this doesn’t mean literally 70 times 7 times, but He meant to keep on forgiving however much it may be.)

God’s mercy and forgiveness to us

We now know how forgiving God is to us. He is merciful and full of love. Whether you like it or not, we don’t deserve ANY mercy from God.

“Who is a God like you,

who pardons sin and forgives the transgression

of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever

but delight to show mercy.”

Micah 7:18

We, as sinners, don’t deserve ANY of the forgiveness – this doesn’t mean God is cruel; since the fall, we have continuously been sinning before God while He is still patient and merciful to us. But we continue to choose to do the wrong things. Jesus has experienced rejections and people doing wrong to him, no kidding. Jesus was whipped, spat on, rejected, and crucified. And just for our own wickedness.

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:7-8

So now what?

Now you would realize that what the person has done to you, is no worse than what you have done to God.

So if God forgives you, and even died for you, why can’t you forgive your friend, sibling, or whoever hurt you. Every time someone does something wrong to you, try to forgive that person, and remember that God has already forgiven you.

So now you know why it’s important to forgive. In the end, it’s your decision to make, whether you choose to forgive, or not.

I know it will be hard to forgive. I know the feeling because I, too, find it hard to forgive. Take Jesus’ example of forgiving and let yourself do the same to others. Do you choose to forgive today?

Here are some Bible verses to encourage you to forgive (in case you still find it hard):

  • “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
  • “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.” Daniel 9:9
  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.Colossians 3:13
  •  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.Luke 6:37
  • Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32
  • “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, you Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

Erin Kurnia (14) is one of the writers for RE Generation-Z. She hopes that by God’s grace, she can write to spread the Truth and happiness to others, that they too may be children of God living in the light. You will find that she really enjoys playing piano, baking, sewing and designing.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.