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I look around nowadays and everybody seems to want to be tough; or at least look tough anyway. And it’s not just the guys but it’s the girls too. I listen to the young girls on the bus or trains talking about how they beat this one or “beast” on that one and I kind of shudder to myself. Do they really think that this is becoming? This is not how a lady in the making should conduct themselves.

Let’s face it; we adults love to tell the teens about how they’re not doing anything that we haven’t already done. We tell them that compared to us, they’re mellow and they don’t know tough; and how we can show them what tough really is!

Hmmmm…Perhaps. But I know one thing and I may be the only adult willing to admit this: I would not want to go through my teenage years at this time in history. These teenagers are doing things in the open that even behind my mother’s back I was terrified of trying. Truth be told, we never had to deal with half of the stuff that the teenagers today are faced with.

Oh yeah, we dealt with promiscuity and bullies, drugs and alcohol but certainly not on the level that the young people today are dealing with. They are bombarded every day with images romanticizing and making look fun the things that are actually designed by the enemy to devastate and destroy. The pressure to be tough is stronger than ever!

I’m convinced that the desire to be gangsta comes not from the desire to embrace your inner Godfather but it comes as a defense mechanism against the enemy that is trying to destroy our youth. Only, our youth have gotten it a little bit twisted. Yes, there is a very real enemy but they’re fighting against the wrong one. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12) In other words our fight isn’t with people; it’s with Satan.

The devil is setting up our youth to destroy each other and as each one falls dead, Satan is having a big laugh! HaHa! Another sucker gone!

Sounds crude? Well the devil is no gentleman.

I believe that the root to this gangsta mentality is nothing but fear; a defense mechanism. Nobody wants to be labeled a punk. Nobody wants to be anybody’s doormat so to play it safe, act really tough because if people think that you just might be crazy enough to kill them, they’ll leave you alone. They’ll respect you.

Maybe they’ve been hurt and they refuse to be hurt again so I’m gonna throw up that gangsta wall to keep people afraid so that they’ll never get close enough to hurt me.

Maybe they think that they won’t be accepted unless they pledge allegiance to that way of life or way of acting; so, I’m just gonna act this way so that I don’t have to face the rejection of my peers.

Gangster by definition means:

  1. A member of an organized group of criminals; a racketeer.
  1. A member of a gang of delinquents.

And for those who have no clue what a racketeer is:

A person who commits crimes such as extortion, loan sharking, bribery, and obstruction of justice in furtherance of illegal business activities.

I’ve never been one to like gangster movies but I have watched a few and one thing I remember about all of them was that these men, for as tough as they were, lived in constant fear. I’m not just talking about fear of popo, because most of the time they had the police in their pocket anyway. But they were in fear for their lives. With that lifestyle, they could trust no one. They were always watching their backs because at any moment someone could be coming to retaliate or someone could turn on them. As a result they were very paranoid; even about those that were guarding them. How could anyone like that have peace?

Maybe you’re thinking, well, I’m no criminal. I’m an honest gangsta. First of all, that would be what is called an oxymoron. And secondly, I’ll bet the police won’t see it that way. And what’s more, they’ll be justified for their opinion of you.

But maybe there are times when you just have to throw up your hands because someone hit you first or someone stared at you on the subway or perhaps some old lady stuck you in the foot with her cane as she walked by with her Seeing Eye dog in tow. Well now, I’m not talking about legitimate reasons such as these for fighting. I mean, there are times when you just have to let people know not to mess with you!

No, but seriously, to quote yet again the greatest book ever written:

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarrelling.  (Proverbs 20:3)

A secure man (or woman) has no need to throw up there hands or open their mouth to gain anyone’s respect. They don’t need it because they know who they are even if you don’t. It is only someone that is insecure that has to fight or bicker to prove their point. The truth is the truth no matter who believes it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If nobody else believes it, it’s still the truth! You are accepted by the only One whose opinion matters. Why isn’t that enough for most of us?

I don’t have to watch my back. By accepting Christ as my Savior, I have a full time body guard. I don’t have to live a life of paranoid fear because I know that the One watching over me loves me completely and will never turn on me, leave His post or forsake me. I’ll take a life of peace over a life of fear any day. And I don’t even have to be a punk to do it!