Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christian Peer Pressure

His blood was starting to boil. It was like someone had lit a fire inside of him, and any second now, he would start spewing.

The gathering had turned into a party, more or less. People were talking and laughing. Sharing stories and eating their fill. It would have been a perfect evening, tainted by nothing if it wasn't for Peter.

Paul didn't want to cause a scene, but he was getting fed up. Peter was blatantly ignoring a man who had been sharing a story with him. He had been talking with everyone until the men James had sent had arrived.

Now it was like a line had been drawn down the middle of the room. Jews on one side. Gentiles on the other. Any who dared cross the line were ignored.

What was going on with Peter?

A connection formed in Paul's mind. This hadn't started until the men James had sent arrived...

He bit back a sneer. Was that it? Was Peter ashamed for James' Jewish men to see him fraternizing with Gentiles? Well, that was not okay. God loved those people, too. Peter, above all people, new that! There was no way he was just going to let Peter treat his brothers and sisters in Christ like that.

Paul marched over Peter's table, and cleared his throat so loud that almost everyone in the room stopped talking. Paul didn't care though. This was wrong, and somebody needed to call Peter on it.

Based on Galatians 2:11-12

"But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party." Galatians 2:11-12

You know, it's not just kids, teenagers, or young adults that suffer from peer pressure. It's full grown, church going, leadership wielding adults that face peer pressure, too. And lots of times, they give into peer pressure, too.

Yeah, they do.

Look at Peter. He had no hatred for the Gentiles. He genuinely cared for them. In fact, God opened up the ministry for the Gentiles through Peter! He was the first one arguing on their behalf.

But so many Christians didn't understand God's plan (the plan to save people like you and me), and they strongly, vehemently opposed the Gentiles. Some even demanded that the Gentiles start following the laws of Moses. One day, Peter gave in. His friend James sent some people to Peter, and Peter separated himself from the Gentiles, possibly in order to prevent strife among them.

Paul was right. Peter was in the wrong. For one moment, he let the opinions of what others thought about the people who ate the "wrong" kind of meat mean more the God's opinion of them. Maybe it was with good intentions...maybe he was just trying to prevent a blowout, but regardless, peer pressure was the deciding factor that day.

It can happen with any of us. It can happen no matter how old you are. It can happen to the most Godly, experienced Christian out there. When we stop focusing on God's opinions, and we start favoring man's flawed opinions, we fall into Christian peer pressure.

And Paul's right. It's wrong. Always, always, always, place God's opinion first.

V. Joy Palmer

No comments:

Post a Comment