We often underestimate the influence a group of people can have on an individual.
Reference: “Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.” Genesis 37:27 NIV
Explore: Peer group pressure is a powerful thing. We often underestimate the influence a group of people can have on an individual.
This is certainly highlighted at secondary school. I often find that teenagers act completely different on their own than when they are with their circle of friends.
When a teenager is in their own home you will see the more relaxed, open side of them. However, when they are around their friends they will only put their best foot forward – the foot they think is most favourable to their friends.
I know quite a few parents who make the most of this and strive to embarrass their teenager when they are in front of their friends. For many parents of teenagers this is not difficult!
Application: The influence of a group is not just bound to those in the teenage years. Throughout families and workplaces there can exist a pack mentality where less confident people bow to the opinion of a stronger person.
I see this pressure put on Jacob’s sons, Joseph’s brothers. While they struggled with Joseph being the favourite and decided to take his life, it seemed there were a few brothers who felt uncomfortable with this brutal solution.
Reuben and Judah both worked towards saving Joseph’s life, however, they did not verbalise their intentions or stand up to the rest of the brothers. Therefore, Joseph’s life was still lost to his father, potentially because his older brothers were not willing to stand up for him against their siblings.
Our action, or in fact our inaction, can have a huge impact on the people around us. Whether we feel we are a leader or a follower we have a responsibility to live with integrity.
May we live in such a way that we are not swayed by the voice of the group but we live to serve the voice of God.
Prayer: Lord, help us to live according to Your will and not to the persuasion of others. Amen.
Where do you see yourself positioned when it comes to group dynamics?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.