In the World–January 16, 2022

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PRESSURED TO FIT IN

Today, peer pressure among young people often takes the form of “challenges” issued on Tik-Tok and other social media platforms. There have been challenges to eat laundry detergent pods, steal large items from school bathrooms, style one’s hair using gorilla glue, and strangle oneself within an inch of death. A recent example is the “dry scoop challenge,” which involves eating energy drink powder without first adding water. This has been linked to at least one heart attack, and doctors are adamant against it. Still, children and teens try it in hopes of gaining affirmation from peers. “Kids are biologically built to become much more susceptible to peers in adolescence,” said Mitchell Prinstein, of the American Psychological Association. “And social media has magnified those peer influence processes to be much, much more dangerous than they were before…. These kids are being influenced at a level that’s beyond their conscious awareness.”

PRESSURED TO DO WRONG

Today’s passage involves matters of justice among the Israelites during Moses’ leadership. When the majority favored one side over the other, others were inclined to side with that group regardless of guilt or innocence. God commanded them not to pervert justice for any reason, and certainly not to fit in with peers.

  1. What’s the worst example of peer pressure you know of?
  2. Why is peer pressure so powerful?
  3. How can we be on the side of right even when the pressure to fit in is so strong?

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