Vol.XIII No.VII Pg.6
September 1976

Social Slavery

Robert F. Turner

On a recent Wednesday night one of our members (Byron Boucher) presented a fine talk on Avoiding Bad Habits. With his consent I am reproducing the salient points on this quote page.


Webster says Habit implies a settled disposition or tendency due to repetition. One can not form a habit without first deciding to try it. It follows, therefore, that our bad habits — the ones we would like now to break — began by choice. In this sense, we have none to blame but ourselves. We stew in our own juice.

But why does one light the first weed, or take the first drink, or do whatever becomes a damaging habit? We should not seek to escape personal responsibility — our fleshly appetites, youths desire to experiment, etc. But many of these specific reasons can be summed up in one general category, and that is social pressures. Our T.V. and movie idols do it, advertisement says it is the fashionable thing to do, ant most forceful of all, our immediate associates do it.

There is a sad irony in the current desire to do your own thing, for more often than not your own thing is not your own at all, but what your peers are doing. You dress, and talk, and drink, and do, as your peers dictate. In fact, many young people (and some older) live in dire fear that they will not conform to the expectations of the gang — even while they are loudly explaining that they are independent, and are determined to be on their own. This would be bad enough in harmless practices. It becomes infinitely worse when the habit is of such a nature that it becomes an addiction and the victim loses the ability to exercise his will. Apart from drugs that so dominate us, many sins make us their slave. One lie demands many covering lies; and some appetites, once developed, are never satisfied. All sin, unforgiven, has dominion over you (Rom. 6:11-18). There is no slave so cursed as one who is dominated and ruined by his own sinful habits.

We are surrounded by a world where sin is king and whose pressures are therefore pushing us in the wrong direction. James says, ...the friendship of the world is enmity with God (14:14). Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. We would emphasize that this makes the world your own worst enemy. There is no better way — actually there is no other way to really show free will and independence in your own best interest, than to determine to live above the world.

You can not drift in this direction; it is an up-hill pull. And here the fellowship of brethren in Christ can be truly appreciated. Members of the church are not perfect — they are also pulling up-hill against the tide of social pressures — but they aim to do better. By making Christians your peers, by looking for your life mate among Christians, by cultivating a social life among Christians, you will ease your journey immeasurably. But Christians are examples only so far as they follow Christ. It is in Christ alone that we may finally overcome bad habits, and the world.