“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” Matthew 5: 11-12(NIV)
Being Christian may not always be the easy street, but being a Christian teenagers poses hardships of its own.
When we are in the process of maturing, we are trying to find our place in this big crazy world and that means we want to be accepted and loved, especially by our own peers. However, the culture nowadays is becoming more and more secular and influencing the youth to, instead of being the salt and light of the world, to become people trampled on by men.
There are many challenges that faces us in our experiences especially in the life we live during middle and high schools. There is an established yet tacitly known social hierarchy within the school walls. The “popular” people usually hang together. The “nerds” and “smart people” also find their own table among the cafeteria or outside school benches during lunch. Other groups, divided according to appearance, ethnicity, interests, and popularity, include “skaters,” “athletes,” “gangs,” “thugs,” “rock,” just to name a few. However, there is rarely ever a “Christian” group that is clearly identifiable among the list.
Teenagers like to try out many things. Some are good, some are bad. Choosing not to follow the crows and conform to secular trends such as sexy dressing, smoking and drinking habits, party-going, and cussing can be considered a social loss. There are many good Christians out there who want to follow all the teachings of Bible and of the church but can’t find the friends to comfortably express the lifestyle.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. There are many people who feel the same way but for fear of rejection by the social committee play along and adjust themselves to blend in and belong, even if it means doing things, agreeing with particular views, or participating in certain activities they don’t necessarily feel comfortably with accepting.
It can be traumatizing to feel “left out” and “not cool.” However, the life of the cross Jesus showed us was not a life that was easy. But one thing we can rely on is the resurrection that comes after dying on the cross. Even if you suffer as you remain true to your beliefs, there is greater satisfaction than popularity that results. It may be hard to envision a life without having a socially revered reputation, but faith is all about seeing the impossible happenings becoming possible today.
Just like the value of true gold is widely recognized no matter where you go in the world, the value of a true Christian does not go unseen by your peers. Always pray for the Lord’s guidance to become a person who is in peace with your surroundings and your peers, but not a person who compromises his values. By being a Christian placed in a culturally secular environment such as middle or high school, you may be the bridge and testimonial role model they need to grow closer to the Lord.