How far should I go to fit in?
Do you feel pressure to change who you are so you will be accepted?
Have you ever tried to be someone else just to fit in with a group of people?
Have you ever tried to do something impressive, just for the sake of others’ approval?
I'm sure many of us would probably say 'yes' to at least one of these questions. But why do we do it? Sometimes it's simply because we feel the need to fit in and be accepted. This is a struggle faced by both Christians and non-Christians.
The dangers of trying to fit in
Some may ask, “Is it okay for a Christian to become friends with a non-Christian?” The answer is yes. It is important to have fellow Christians in your life, but that does not mean you should limit your friendships to only Christians. Sometimes becoming friends with a non-Christian can test your faith, but in the end that friendship may strengthen it.
However, fitting in with a group of people who share different values can sometimes cause problems. We must be careful not to abandon our personal beliefs and values, even though we may be sometimes feel that is our only option if we want to be accepted.
When Christians become friends with non-Christians, we may not realize what our boundaries are until it is too late. Sometimes, we may be tempted to do something that the Bible says isn't good, like drinking alcohol excessively. While some non-Christians may think this is considered “cool,” God doesn't.
Don't be afriad to say 'no'
In order for us to make a stand, sometimes we're going to have to use a simple, yet complicated word: No.
If saying “No” to your friends means they turn around and reject you, then are they really your friends? True friends do not turn away from you when told “No,” for they accept and respect you for your decisions and for who you are. The key to really fitting in is to be you. How will you know if someone is a real friend if they don’t really know you? We are most comfortable when we are ourselves, not pretending to be somebody else.
So what should our boundaries be as Christians? Here's some things to think about when you work our your boundaries:
- You should never have to pretend you are someone else just for approval.
- Make sure what you say and do is still honoring God. We are called to be obedient children of God, not to just follow as we feel.
- If you are ever led astray, don't be afraid to say “No.”
- In the end, it’s not what others think about us, but what we think about ourselves and most importantly what God thinks about us that matters.
- God has planned what is best, even thought we may not know what it is, and sometimes we may feel left out.
Working on good friendships
Friendship is one of the most important things in our lives. But friendship does not come about by pretending to be someone else or by impressing others for their acceptance. It comes by being ourselves, letting God shine through our being, and through honesty to both others and ourselves.
And once we find real friends who accept us for who we are, the fellowship begins; in other words, spending time together. Fellowship with one another is important, especially as Christians, because it strengthens bonds and helps keep accountabile to each other.
How far is too far?
So how far should we go to fit in? Not far at all. Sometimes, being the “outsider” is the right thing to be, even though it hurts. The acceptance that should matter to us is God's - and He is a very loving and accepting God!
God does not want us to fit into the world, to become more like it. He wants us to be more like Him.
The world we live in is temporary. All that we hold important on earth will eventually pass away. For this reason we shouldn’t let the rejection and acceptance of others interfere with God’s purpose for our being. As Christians, we are not to conform to the pleasures of this world, but to live in the world, holding out hope for those without Jesus Christ, shining as a light in the darkness.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).