Dare to be different

By December 15, 2015SOAP Thoughts

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I read a news article yesterday about the anniversary of the Lindt cafe siege. The article was an attack on religion – all religion, urging people not to pray because religion was the cause of the violence and other abuse that we face. Interestingly, 90% of the letters to this article opposed what the author wrote.

The article came to mind as I was journalling on 1 Peter today.

These days, as Christians, we stand out from the crowd. Or at least we should stand out. There are a whole range of issues that include abortion, same sex marriage, the treatment of displaced people, euthanasia… the list goes on, where we will often have views that are different to the views of any around us.

Holding views that are different; in particular when we dare to believe something that is different to those that the media proclaims as the only reasonable way to think, will mean that we will come under attack for what we believe. When we dare to be different, we will often be criticised and ridiculed unless we step in line with what are regarded as mainstream views.

This seems to be the pattern of being a Christ follower in a secular society. When the Apostle Peter wrote to the Christian communities in modern day Turkey in his letter, 1 Peter, he was writing to a people who were like strangers living in a foreign land. They were followers of Jesus in a time when they were supposed to worship the emperor alone.

Their attitudes, values and beliefs led to them standing out by being different. As a result, many were persecuted because they didn’t go with the flow of the mainstream. While the whole of Peter’s letter gives guidance to how we are to behave and respond in such a time, 2 verses in particular give wisdom and encouragement that we can take on board.

“But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.” 1 Peter 3:15,16

1. Make the choice to really make Jesus Lord. That means that I will put Him first, loving Him, worshipping Him, following Him, obeying His commands. It means that I will live my life His way, and my beliefs about what is right and what is wrong will come from His teaching.

2. Be ready and willing to speak about our faith, what we believe, why we believe, and how this shapes our thinking and behaviour, even when we will be going against the mainstream.

3. Show love, gentleness and respect in the way that we live out and speak about our faith. Don’t get aggressive or abrasive about it. Always uphold truth with love.

The biggest statement that we make about our faith won’t be in what we proclaim, but in our attitudes, words and behaviours when we come under fire for holding onto what we believe.

Be blessed and have a great day!