My Faith/Teen Faith/Virtue and Sin Don’t be Fooled: How to See Past the Glamour of Sin by Dillon Duke I graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago, so I can officially say that the way Hollywood depicts high school is, unfortunately, not even close to the real experience.Troy Bolton and Napoleon Dynamite didn’t teach me about high school through their awesome dancing was that who, and what I stood for, was going to be questioned and pushed more than I had thought. As the years progressed, I saw more and more of the people I looked up to because of their good grades and great behavior slip into habits like cheating on tests, sending their friends a picture of the completed homework to copy, and looking online for the answers to a test instead of actually studying. It wasn’t just academics though: seeing my fellow peers throw parties with alcohol and drugs, skip school, and be rude to teachers was a common occurrence towards the end of my high school experience. With this, I felt excluded, which I was not expecting to feel at all. . I knew I was being smart and safe, but I felt like there was something out there that I was missing. I mean, it seemed like almost everyone I knew was out there doing something I’m not, so there had to be something good about it, right? Before you go thinking that I never hung out with anybody ever during high school, let me explain exactly what I mean when I say “exclusion”. I was (and still am) very blessed with a great group of friends during high school that, whenever I was with them, I had a great time. Instead of skipping school or going to the after prom party, my friends and I would support each other by going to our various performances or going to In-N-Out and talked about life over cheeseburgers. I had a blast during high school, but I still felt like I was missing out on what everybody else was doing, even if I knew it was something bad. Everything that Glitters… The feeling of missing out on something doesn’t even have to be a huge party after prom that everyone seems to be going to. It can be something as small standing by and watching a fight without stopping it, or going to that website that has questionable content, or sending that one text that has gossip; the list goes on. While we read these things and think “Of course those are bad! Anybody knows that”, we should reexamine those situations, but in a different perspective. Satan himself was the most beautiful angel before God cast him to hell. The devil knows how to turn something we would normally reject into something so tempting that we might fall for it. Sure you should try and stop that fight mentioned before, but can you imagine what would happen if the fight kept going? Besides, nobody likes a goody two-shoes. Of course you shouldn’t view that one website, but you’ve had a long day, your relationship just ended, you’re a good person; what’s one visit gonna do? Everybody does it. It’s obvious that you shouldn’t spread that rumor, but if you did, you would be so popular!This story would be so big, the whole school would know who you are if you just let that small secret slip. When we are given an example of something we know is bad out of our own lives, it’s easy to act high and mighty (myself included) and say we would never fall for it, yet when Satan wraps our predicament in a nice little bow and dares us to open it, the situation becomes harder to step. Sin can disguise itself as whatever it can, but it can be the most dangerous when it puts on the mask that it’s something so beautiful, so precious, and so well loved that you feel ostracized if you don’t take part in it. Seeing Past the Disguise You see, when we were growing up and we learned the bible through children’s stories, we were taught that God is good, sin is evil, and that sin is ugly and the equivalent of fool’s gold. While they were incredibly correct in all of this, what you learn over time is that sin can put on a disguise that can trick you into falling for it. For me, Satan attacked me through that feeling that I was missing out on something if I didn’t do what he wanted. When you become aware of sin and can say no to it successfully, Satan becomes more creative and more specific with how he attacks you. This idea is mentioned when during a mass, you renew your baptismal promises. It usually starts off with the classic “Do you believe in God the Father Almighty”, and then it runs down the list of almost all of the essential Catholic things that make Catholicism what it is. During one baptism, I heard the priest say “Do you reject the glamour of sin?” , and I had a mini-revelation. Whenever we look back on our sin, we think “How could I possibly do this?”. We have these thoughts because we forget how powerful that glamour can be. Satan can take his sin, which we can fight against well, and dress it up the way he knows it’ll tempt us the most. We must learn how to see past its disguise. So comes the question; how do we fight sin when it has an advantage in the fight? There is no definite, best way to do this since everybody struggles with different sins and fights those sins in unique ways, so here is a list of what I do, and what my friends do as well. Take a step back from situation, and picture it as though you are an outsider looking in. If they wanted the best for you, what would they want you to pick? Ask someone you trust if what you want to do makes sense to them? Also, ask them if it would actually be good for you to make this decision? Have a commitment buddy! Get someone that you go to church with (or someone you know who has struggled with the same thing you are), and promise each other that you’re going to keep each other away from possibly making bad decisions. Pray to St.Michael The Archangel (and any other saint for that matter), to help you fight what you’re feeling. It always helps to have a whole army behind your back. It’s our duty as Christians to stand for our beliefs, even when it’s hard. We have to say no to what we know is bad when everything else is telling us that it’s okay. Recognizing sin, even when it’s disguised as something we think we want, is a crucial step in order to defeat it.