I remember those junior high days where a few girls gathered secretively to share the cigarettes that had been obtained. They were my friends. They were all doing it. But just because they were all trying a puff didn’t mean it was right or normal. I said no. It would happen again and I would say no again. This time, however, another friend was strengthened to say no as well. She found her backbone.

I wish I could say that in every test that came my way, I always did the right thing and that I have no regrets, but that would be a lie. I’ve made mistakes just like everyone else. But there were also many times that I did stand up and say, this is not for me!

Today we have so many programs to discourage children from starting the addicting habit of smoking that the message is clearly out there: smoking is not normal. We have political ads on tv asking voters to extend the smoke free laws to bars, because employees there have a right to breathe clean air too!

When I was a kid, my mom laid down the law, we were not to watch a tv show about a witch. No questions asked. Today there are so many tv shows, movies, books on required reading lists at school and much more that promote witchcraft. Does it change anything? Nope. My mom still won’t watch a tv show about a witch. Apparently what has become normal all around her didn’t change her standards or beliefs.

What about us? Maybe your issue isn’t witchcraft. Maybe it is alcohol or try before you buy plans of living together before marriage. Has society’s sensually saturated offerings that seem so normal changed your mind? Is what our friends, family or neighbors perceive as “normal” now our guidelines for the choices we make on a day to day basis?

Where do you get your values from? Is it a cultural heritage? Perhaps it is a religion or faith based set of values. Maybe your values are based on a certain set of political ideals. Wherever you get your values from, be true to them.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, my values come from His life and teachings through His Word, the Bible. I pray that everyday the decisions I make are guided by the Bible and not what society sees as the new normal. Will I stand out? Will I be different? That’s a no-brainer. Yes, I’ll stand out, but that’s okay because that’s what Jesus asks me to do.


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