Counting the Cost

My last post was about the different pressures we face in this world. I talked about peer, corporate, political and societal pressure. All real, for sure. I talked about being able to stand against the pressure and how we cannot do it well in our own strength. But there is another part to this equation: when we stand against this pressure, there is going to be a cost, and it is something you have to consider.

Let’s take peer pressure. If you don’t go along with your friends when they choose to do something wrong, you will pay a price. Perhaps, they will snub you for a day or they might call you names. They could drop you as a friend if you won’t go along with them. You could pay a small cost or an even larger cost for doing the right thing.

Think about corporate pressure. If the corporation chooses to do something that you believe is morally or ethically wrong and you choose not to do it, you may pay a very high price indeed. You could be blackballed, fired or overlooked for promotions for the foreseeable future.

What about political pressure? Let’s say your party decides to promote something that you believe is morally or ethically wrong. If you won’t go along with them, again, you may pay a very high price. You may lose funding in the next election or you may lose their support and even their nomination for your position.

Let’s think about societal pressure. You hold a state or national office and the winds of change are blowing and not in a good direction. You are facing pressure to cave into what the mob wants and you know it is wrong. If you stand up for what is right, you many be voted out of office in the next election. You will certainly be vilified by many and your life will probably be threatened by a few if not many…not a pretty picture.

No matter what type of pressure we are facing; if we decide we are not going to go along with it and will have to take a stand, there will be a cost to pay. It may be slight or it may be something life-altering, such as a loss of a job or profession. We would be well advised to consider the cost of the actions we plan to take. We must not be foolish or naive and think that just because we chose to do the right thing, there will be no cost to pay. There will always be a cost.

Even Jesus, told those who wanted to be his disciples, to consider the cost they would pay before they decided to follow him. In Luke 14: 28-33, He talks about a man who wants to build a tower and how he must consider the cost of building it and having the resources to finish the job. He then uses another example: He talks about a king going to war and how the king must consider the forces he has to use to fight the battle and if he has the ability to win.

When taking a stand against the crowd, against the pressure, there are easy answers and there are right answers but there are no cost-free answers. No matter what we decide, we must always count the cost, pray for wisdom and move in the direction we believe to be right.

Peer Pressure

When we think of peer pressure, our minds automatically go to teens. We are concerned with the friends they have because we know that they will influence their decisions, both positive and negative. Peer pressure is real and it begins a lot earlier than the teenage years. Peer pressure begins the moment we begin to make friends. We are only human and want to be accepted by those in our social circles and so from the time we make our first friend, we begin to experience it.

Peer pressure is a strong driving force but it doesn’t end when we graduate from high school. It continues on through college and as we get out into the workforce. Depending on where we find employment, we may begin to experience something stronger than peer pressure; it is corporate pressure. It is the pressure our corporation puts on its employees to think and conform to its particular agenda, political or otherwise.

If you decide you want to go into public service, you open yourself up to a stronger pressure than corporate pressure, it is political pressure. This pressure comes at you from all sides, political and otherwise as people want their agendas enacted by their elected officials.

If you happen to make it into state or national office, you face an even stronger pressure, it is societal pressure. The whole of society looks to you and pressures you to again follow their agenda, whatever it happens to be at the time. As we know, most politicians buckle under that pressure sooner or later. We all remember the name, Pontius Pilate. He was the governor of Judea at the time Jesus was brought before him. The political leaders wanted Jesus crucified but Pilate realized they were jealous of Him and he didn’t want to give in to them. Pilate would not go along with Jesus’ accusers in the beginning, but when the crowd began screaming for His death, he caved into the pressure.

No one is immune to peer pressure, corporate pressure, political pressure or societal pressure. We must all deal with a certain level of it wherever we find ourselves. So how do we deal with it? We can rely on our own strength and hope we can withstand whatever we are faced with, but I don’t think that is a very strong place to stand. We are all human, and we have been dealing with this pressure in one form or another from the time we were youngsters, and we didn’t always do so well when faced with it.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we must recognize that the only way we will be able to stand in a society that continues to deteriorate morally, ethically and spiritually, is to stand in the strength that He can give us. We must look to Him and ask Him for the strength to stand against whatever we are facing each day.

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

Image by Zibal Media, Courtesy of Pixabay.