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Friends or Not?
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My friends are always pressuring me to do things with them that I know are wrong, like drinking alcohol. I go along with them because they help me out a lot financially, so I feel as if I shouldn’t just "diss" them. But what should I do?

Pastor Steve Answers:

From a distance the answer is easy–drop those friends and find some new ones. They aren’t really your friends if they’re pressuring you to do things you know are wrong.

Now, if that’s all you needed to hear, stop reading the rest of this response. But if that isn’t enough of an answer, continue reading.

Everyone wants friends. Are you a good friend? Here are a few questions for your friendship barometer: Are you the kind of person others want to be around? Are you a good listener? Can you carry on a conversation? What types of things do you do for fun? Do you care about others, or are you more concerned about yourself? Do you build people up rather than tear them down? Are you more concerned about what others think, or about what’s right?

Here’s what Solomon said about having friends, "There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24, NLT).

Many people have found God to be their best friend, and sometimes their only friend. God’s promise is "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (promised to Joshua, who was a little nervous; see Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; quoted in Hebrews 13:5, NKJV).

When you are confident that God is always there for you, you won’t be swayed by what others might do to you or pressure you to do (see Hebrews 13:6).

I have one more suggestion for you. People often talk about giving in to peer pressure at all ages. Sometimes all you need is for one person to stand up with you. If you’re feeling especially weak or vulnerable, maybe that person needs to be the first to stand, and then you can join that person.

It sounds as though you need to find that person. Ask your pastor or some other church leader you respect to hook you up with someone who can stand with you when you need some support.

Here’s how Solomon put it in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: "Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken" (NLT).

I’d say it’s time to get anchored into God and find the kind of friend you’d really like. Then you can be a positive influence on others instead of being influenced by others to do things you don’t really want to do.

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By Steve Case. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New King James Version © and the New Living Translation ©.

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