Dear Esther
If you are having a challenging day or burdened with some personal problems, then you can be sure others are too. Write to Esther and she will have some good sound biblical advice and answers for you. You will be helping others by sharing your need or concern. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).


You can email your question to Esther at:
dearesther7@yahoo.com

    



October 20, 2013

Hello Esther,

My name is Jared and I am 15 years old and live in South Africa. I go to a government school. The majority of the students are East Indians. Most of them are Hindus and Muslims with Christians that don’t make up as much but there are some. Most of these Christians teens do the wrong things all the time.

I know most of them swear, drink, smoke and do other even more horrible things. So I have Christian friends but they swear and do other wrong things. So my question is, how do I find friends that are Christians AND try to be Christ-like as much as possible; but are almost impossible to find? I made sure I was not influenced by my friends and actually I try to influence them to stop doing the wrong things.

I was also baptized this year which was AWESOME! But this makes me feel guilty when they sin, and I am also constantly around Muslims and Hindus who don’t understand what it means to be Christian, and even those who say they are Christians don’t know what is means to be a Christian!

I do have true Christian parents, we all do go to a Bible teaching church. I do also go to Sunday school too which goes all the way to Grade 12. I'm in grade 9. I do know my pastor and I was baptized by him. My family members such as my aunties and uncles, Grandparents etc. are also true Christians.

I have prayed and asked God to provide me new friends my age, but He hasn’t answered my prayer yet. I know He won’t miraculously provide someone out of thin air, but it makes me feel very sad when I’m constantly around seeing people sin. And it’s not so easy leaving my friends, that would mean being a loner for a very long time.

My entire family is saved. My family came from India during the 1800s or so. That time, the British ruled South Africa, and they promised Indians living in India a better life and that the roads here were made of gold. But that was an obvious lie and many hundreds upon hundreds of Indians left India on ships and sailed all the way to South Africa. Many people died on those ships. When they finally reached here, they were very disappointed and angry; they were forced to work on the sugarcane farms. Many people died of diseases and suicide.

They were badly treated and worked from sunrise to sundown for a very low wage. Plus, they couldn’t leave South Africa because they were indentured laborers, which meant they worked under a contract for two years, (I think). When those two years were up, they could go back to India or stay in South Africa.

My grandparents and even my great grandmother are still alive. They were Hindus before becoming Christians (most likely all East Indians were Hindus before hearing and accepting the gospel). What is really cool is that my great granny, told me when she was a Hindu, she couldn’t have children. So she did rituals but still no children.

But then when she brought her heart before Jesus and accepted Him as her personal Savior, she had nine children! Yes, nine children! She is now about 86 years old and still serving the Lord faithfully. And that’s how after her being saved, my grandmother was saved, and so my mother etc. So I am saved all my life and never converted because my parents were Christians after their parents became Christians.

Basically my question is, how do I find Christian friends in my school when there is few to find?

I am looking forward to your advice!

God Bless!

Jared


Dear Jared,

Thank you for sharing some of your life. Your family’s history sounds very interesting and shows how Christ has brought your family through some very tough times. A conversion from Hinduism to true biblical Christianity is a powerful testimony.

You sound like a very mature and intelligent 15-year-old. It sounds like you have a good solid foundation in Christ, thanks to your family. But at the end of your letter you say you have been saved your entire life because of your parents and never converted. I have no doubt you are sold-out for Jesus, but I do want to point out that no one is born a Christian.

Each person must make a conscious decision to receive Christ as Lord and Savior or reject Him. It is a choice each person on this earth must make. Jared, from what I have read from you, at some point in your young life you must have made a conscious commitment to the Lord.

To answer your question regarding making friends who are not steeped in a sinful lifestyle; considering what you have shared, patience is needed. I do hope and pray at some point you will find a friend or two who you can trust and share the things of the Lord. Your description of even the professing Christians at your school is very troubling, but not at all unusual in these last days. This entire world is steeped in moral depravity.

You have a wonderful attitude and no doubt your sense of high-moral standards and love for the Lord will surely affect some of your classmates in a most positive way. Perhaps your good influence may not be seen right away but in time, some who have witnessed your way of life may think twice before participating in sordid behavior.

You may be the one student at your school who gives hope to those who are lost in their sin. You may not have asked to be in such a position but I have confidence in your ability to endure because of your faithfulness and your devotion to the Lord. Perhaps your friends who call themselves Christians but act like heathens, will follow your good example.

It sounds like the Lord has placed you into a challenging situation where your leadership talent may go far. From what you have written to me in some other emails it does not sound like enrolling in a private school is an option for you at this time. So as they say, “Bloom where you are planted.”

When we are not given any other options than the one we find ourselves in, then we must make the most of our situation and do our best for Christ—even in the midst of obvious godlessness. Scripture instructs us to be careful who we choose as friends and not to spend time with those who are living worldly lives of sensual pleasures. You already understand that. You cannot control who your classmates are. But you can keep a careful distance from the worst of them, as you are doing now.

The light you shine upon your peers at school will not go unnoticed. You may be the very one who helps keep some of the students from getting into trouble. Your godly demeanor may help others from falling further into a downward spiral of sin and self-destruction. But what about you? Where will you get your support and friendships from?

Until the Lord brings other serious students into your life who love the Lord, you may have to continue gleaning the fellowship you desire from your family members and church. Some believers need to be around others constantly and some do not.

I know of a special, very intelligent lady who is a very independent believer who loves the Lord with all her heart. She is not drawn to spend much time with others but is nevertheless, a very effective witness through her website and when she does go out into the world. She has a special quality that draws others to her.

We all have different callings in which we are to serve the Lord. It sounds like the Lord has given you leadership qualities. For now, it seems like you are alone at school in your commitment to Christ. But with independence comes strength and resilience, and tremendous spiritual growth can be achieved. It seems to me that the Lord is grooming you for your future. I would not be surprised if you became a full-time evangelist or pastor with a great ministry (if the Lord tarries).

I know you long to have others you can pal around with safely without being deluged with godless profanities, and all the other things that go on at your school. You must keep praying the way you have been, and trust that the Lord will open-up some doors for you to be with other like-minded friends. Perhaps a new student may come to your school who feels like you. We don’t know how God will intervene. But stay hopeful. You don’t need a lot of friends but even one good friend would help, I understand.

One suggestion I can make is to start a teen Bible study and prayer group with the assistance of your parents and pastor. Speak to your parents about possibly arranging to meet with your pastor and offer to start a group at your church or somewhere in your community where other teens can come and earn about the Word of God, and have fellowship in a safe place.

This is something you could do after school and on weekends and you can use your leadership qualities to help bring it all together. If you are busy with after school activities for the Lord you won’t miss not having friends at your school.

Everything you describe at your school is very symptomatic of the way Jesus said the world would be shortly before His Second Coming. It is also a direct reflection of how so many parents are not doing their job to teach their children right from wrong, and to behave with respect toward others. God has blessed you with a wonderful family. So many teens do not have good Christian parents, as you can see from your classmates.

Do your best to concentrate on your schoolwork and keep your heart and mind on the Scriptures. When others offend you, take it to Jesus. When you can’t stand the ways of your government school, know that it is only for a few more years.

Peer pressure to become popular and be part of the crowd can be overwhelming, Most of the people you know now in school will become a distant memory after graduation. So never mind if they treat you like an outcast when you refuse to go along with their bad behavior and wicked schemes. (Keep that in mind when you feel lonely.) You already have wisely chosen not to be like them.

Set yourself apart from the “popular” crowd and be popular with Jesus instead. Continue as you are living—to please Christ. God has a plan for your life, Jared. He has the right friends for you when the time is right. Spend your time learning and studying the Scriptures. Continue to grow close to Jesus and He will guide you every day.

And be sure to look into starting a teen youth group. You may not be able to make real friends at your school right now, but perhaps someone from your church can lead/oversee a teen youth group and you can be his or her assistant.

Jared, you are an exceptional young man. Keep your heart and mind focused on the Lord and He will strengthen you. Please stay in touch with me and let me know how you are doing. And God bless you for your faithfulness.

In God’s love,

Esther

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).