It's going to get harder before it gets easier, this business of standing strong and steering against the tidal wave of your peers. The temptations grow stronger at this age - the age when your friends believe they know more and best and all.
The moral absolutes become ambigious in the company of teens high on pleasure and smelling like pungent chemicals from an aeresol can. The gap between your inner compass and the opinion of popular culture grows wider as you are encouraged to sow wild oats and do what feels good.
No matter that there is no sewing silk purses from the stanky sow's ears after a night in a prodigal's pig hostel.
I whisper, Redemption. There is always redemption and grace and mercy that overflows and overwhelms when you choose wrong and choose repentance. Always.
But choose first for truth and love and justice. Just say no to gossip and deceit and vulgarity.
Not because you are better but because you have been taught. Not simply taught better but taught truth. That a friend willing to gossip to you is a friend who will gossip about you. That a friend who assures it's unnecessary to phone home and phone mom because this idea of hers is what everyone does is a friend who when eveyone jumps off a bridge will be the one to push you over.
Choose now in the little challenges because these are the moments of life. There is no visible warning line dividing your present and your future because each and every choice before you bears consequence on your tomorrow. The little habits of today make way for the major character of who you will become - for the better or the worse.
These moments of choosing won't always herald their coming like some majesterial pomp and glory or while an ominous soundtrack plays in the background - pick me! don't pick me! They will come between classes when nasty words linger among lockers. They will come disguised as curiosity with experimentation a la mode. They will come like a hiss suggesting that you will know all things if only you would partake. Obvious angels and devils on shoulders are only urban legend.
You lower your eyelids, weary from the long and heavy talk. Your eyes that started damp with some shame and regret are dry now because you took those ugly burdens where they were and always are swallowed in Love. Forgiveness has washed your heart free from these and renewed a fresh desire in you to live differently, to stand apart, to push back against the rising surge of negative influence.
Not because you are better. But because you choose to follow a different Influence and be led by Love.
Because you are His and you are mine and I promise to sail with you over these troubled waters until He brings you safe within His harbor.