In the Christian environment that many of us experience, whether that is church, school, or work, we are encouraged to be imitators of Christ. On the other hand, the world tends to tell us two things: be perfect (fashion, etc.) and, more recently, to just “be yourself!” The world’s sense of being yourself and “standing out” include standing up for what’s right (which is great), not caring what about what anyone says about you (ignoring gossip mills — again, great), and wearing what fits your style, not anyone else’s (again…great).
So often, though, the world tells us to be different in things that don’t really matter. Media tells us that voicing our own opinions matters, that wearing what we want matters, that just…being ourselves is what matters. At a glance, this seems harmless. And if all you’re doing is wearing what you want to wear, that’s pretty harmless; there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you observe more closely what the world seems to tell everyone, you’ll realize that the world is really telling you to live for you. Wear what you want, do what you want, be who you want.
Many Christians have chosen to combine Christianity (imitators of Christ) with the world’s message of you being you (different, unique, etc.) and it looks totally okay. After all, Jesus didn’t blend in; he stood out. Jesus didn’t go with the flow. In fact, he went against the current and broke down social barriers. Which is great! God doesn’t call us to be one with the world; he actually tells us to be in the world, not of it.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:3
Nothing I’ve said so far is really wrong. Wearing the clothes you choose to wear, etc. is okay! There’s nothing sinful about that.
What I’m talking about is more along the lines of “this is me, everyone needs to get used to it. If they don’t like who I am, that’s their problem.”
This is not a Christian attitude. I’m talking about Christians who are rather opinionated and don’t mind letting others know. I have heard some say that it’s “just who I am.”
I know that we need to accept people for who they are, and I’m not saying that we should judge other people.
What I am saying is that being harsh in the name of Christ isn’t okay.
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Titus 3:1 – 2
It’s one thing to stand up for what’s right, but it’s quite another to be inconsiderate of other’s feelings and be harsh with them. Let’s face it — no one is perfect, or ever will be. But we as Christians should strive to demonstrate the same loving-kindness that Jesus did in his ministry. Jesus never ran after the Pharisees yelling, “You bunch of sinners! Follow me or you’ll go to hell!” No. He instead showed the love of God to them (although he did sometimes use harsh words with them out of righteous anger at their pride, but again — he never cut them down as people but rather showed them where they were wrong kindly, in the hopes of gaining their repentance). Similarly with other people, he never sat there telling them what was wrong with them, or was inconsiderate of their feelings. He did quite the opposite, actually. He talked with people, got to know them. Showed them love.
God calls us to be loving:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:5 – 7
(Check out 1 Corinthians 13 to see what love is: patient, kind, etc.)
God calls us to be different for him; we need to be different with the intent of bringing glory to his Name. Being opinionated and harsh with others will not bring glory to him. If we truly desire to please him, we will allow the meek loving-kindness of God to shine through us, pointing to his presence in our lives. Ask God to use you and help you practice meekness and love in everything you do. He will!