Keeping Your Head above Water
Bible Reading: 1 Peter 2:11-12
Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. 1 Peter 2:12
Last night Amber and three friends had a sleep-over. For six whole hours they bashed one of the girls from school. No, they didn’t thump her over the head with bricks. In fact, she wasn’t even at the sleep-over. But their words hurt her nonetheless. They slammed this girl’s weight, her hair, and her choice of clothes. Oh-they also laughed at her total inability to do long division. In the morning Amber wished she had walked away when the gossip started, but she just couldn’t. Now she felt bad about all the hurtful things she said.
What Amber experienced is the feeling you get when you’re swept away by a current too strong to resist. Swimming against a current for very long takes more strength than any of us can muster. If you’ve ever tried to swim in a river, you know it’s easier just to relax and go with the flow. The right flow can give you a wildly fun ride. The problem is, the wrong flow can sweep you away—forever—even when your fingertips are just inches from shore.
Friends are like that flow, wearing down even the strongest swimmer. Sooner or later we go the direction our friends are going.
Talk about it: How is hanging out with the wrong people like getting swept away by a bad current? Why is it important that your closest friends pull you in the right direction?
Surrounding yourself with the right kinds of friends—friends who challenge you to live your whole life for Christ—is how you grow as a Christian.
Amber would have felt a whole lot different in the morning if she had made a different choice the night before. If she had stopped talking about her classmate as soon as the slamming started, she might have fewer friends-or maybe they would have decided to do the right thing. Either way, Amber wouldn’t have had to get straightened out with Jesus. And those friends would have seen Amber acting out God’s love.
If friends pull us in the wrong direction, it’s time to get out of that group—as hard as that can be. First Peter 2:12 says that if we keep our behavior excellent, our friends might one day glorify God. If our friends drag us in the wrong direction and we do wrong, our friends won’t ever see a difference between our life and theirs. And if they see no difference, they have no reason to become followers of Christ themselves. Wouldn’t you like to stay alive in Christ-and help your friends discover life too?
TALK: How can we pick friends who don’t pull us the wrong way?
PRAY: God, help us choose friends who keep us safe and strong. And help us show your love to people who need to see it.
ACT: Ask your family to name a friend they think is pulling you the right way. Spend time with that friend today.