From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

I am constantly being harassed by my peers to do things I know are wrong but I do wish they would accept me for who I am. I feel rejected when they leave me out of activities that could be fun because I am a Christian. Why is it wrong to go along with the crowd?

— P.P.

Dear P.P.: Everyone feels the need to belong and there is nothing morally wrong with wanting to be accepted by others. But following the crowd can be dangerous. Many young people are behind bars today simply because they were willing to let down their guard and do whatever “the gang” required to be accepted. To ignore the inner sense of right and wrong can lead down a treacherous path.

Christians have often been in the minority, but many who learned to stand alone influenced history and made the world a better place. Think about it. It takes more leadership to stand alone than to go along with the ideas of others, particularly when they have the potential of leading others to the place of regret.

We can ask the Lord to help us live in such a way that others will respect us even if they don’t want to do things with us. We can look for others to take under our wing and influence them for the good. The Lord may give opportunities to be a voice for the things of God.

It is a source of strength to read the compelling Bible stories of those who stood alone: Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon and John the Baptist in Israel. Christians who stand alone are not really alone — Jesus Christ is with us always. “Fear not, for I am with you ... I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:10).