But the words we read etch grooves in our brains. The stories remain. Think of how many times you’ve read something, and it pops in your head later to share with a friend—an interesting article, an inspirational quote. This story was NOT something I wanted resurfacing in my mind. And if you’re a huge Patterson fan, that’s cool. I’m not judging. I just knew this book crossed a personal boundary that made me feel uncomfortable. I knew it earlier on. I sensed it was coming. I should have stopped sooner. Sounds like a lot of temptations from my teen years. I knew under my skin it was wrong. I thought about putting an end to antics, but maybe kept going a little too long. There comes a point of no return. And this time, I wasn’t going to cross it.
Fast-forward a day or two to the doctor’s office for annual physicals. When scheduling our usual doc was unavailable, but the receptionist had said, “You’re in luck. We have appointments available with our newest physician.” So we’d taken them. As my child was on the table and the “new-to-the-practice” pediatrician was checking their abdomen he said, “You don’t mind if I look at their privates?”
Time stopped. It was one of those moments, when you’re caught off guard, and you’re not sure if you heard someone right, and you get a little warning signal, that something is off, and as a result, you’re not quite sure how to respond. I mean this guy was a doctor. But I didn’t know him. And at our last three or four rounds of physicals I’m certain this hadn’t been part of protocol. Some parents would be cool with this—with a trusted doctor, if it was part of their annual routine. But it wasn’t, and I wasn’t. Something in my gut told me it was not okay. I wondered if I said, “No!” Would he think I meant, “No, I don’t mind”? If I said, “Yes,” would he mistake it for giving permission?
It was the exact same feeling I’ve had before. In high school they called it peer pressure. “You don’t mind if we sneak out of your house to meet these cute guys? We’ll just stay out a little longer, okay? You’re cool if we leave the game early to grab a couple of beers? We don’t have to tell your parents, right?” They’re questions, but not really. More like statements with a question mark tagged on the end at the last minute. What do I say? How do I react? To my friends? To my teammates? To my ride home? No, I don’t want that to happen. Yes it bothers me. How will I get home if I say, “no”?
“Yes, I mind,” I blurted to the doc.
“Well, oh, well,” he stammered, his hand still on my child, “I really recommend this at a well check up.”
I’d said, “no”, but he was pushing back. Who said peer pressure ends when you graduate?
“No thank you,” I chirped, louder this time.
Is anyone asking you to do something that makes you uncomfortable? That sends a strange glob to your stomach, makes your throat itch? It could be something perfectly fine for someone else. It could have been okay for you on another day or in another season or for a different one of your children, but your internal radar tells you something is amiss. It might even be labeled as “you’re in luck” but you still know it is wrong.
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 MSG
Everyday we are faced with choices. And we need to think through our decisions. Often we get some time to think them over. We know what the seniors do at the first Cross Country meet each year. We know a certain person will push our buttons when we see them. We’ve seen what happens at the after hour party at our annual conference. We’ve heard about the initiation process for newbies. When we know, we owe it to ourselves to be prepared with a response, with an action plan. We can be proactive about our decisions.
Other times choices pounce at us, jump from behind the corner when we weren’t expecting them. And then what? And then we need to quickly process if doing this thing is good, is acting that way just, is going that place right? And if the answer is “no”, then that needs to be our answer too. Even when it’s hard to say it. Even when people might judge us or scorn us or laugh at us or roll their eyes at us or not invite us next time or look us over for the promotion.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
God gave us a voice and He wants us to use it. Stand up for what you believe in, so your true reflection can shine.