Are we any different?

I was quite challenged the other day when someone said to me, “Are we any different to our neighbours?” And I’ve been thinking on that ever since. It’s made me think as to whether or not my neighbours see in me and in my wife, Sue, people who are different to them? And if they do, in what ways are we different? Or perhaps we are not visibly different to them, and is that a serious problem? Like – and this is a generalisation – I am guessing we all live in nice houses, we all tend to buy nice cars, we all tend to go on overseas holidays, we all tend to buy new mobile phones, we all tend to have flat screen TV’s, we all tend to have the latest gadgets, we all tend to have two cars at least, we all tend to both in employed work, we all come and go a lot, so what’s different? Yes, it has made me think, ‘Are we any different?’ And if so, in what ways? I also, personally, do feel the pressure to conform to the immoral ways of society, and to therefore be politically correct just like everyone else. I also feel the pressure to conform to the immoral ways of the western church and to therefore remain united with them, just like many churches are. And so, in the end, if I do so, am I any different to the general populace of today? I doubt it. But, Jesus clearly says to shine in a way that the world can see us (Matthew 5:13-16), and therefore that will surely involve being different in some areas. Jesus also tells us to love one another in a very special way; and when we do the world will see that too (John 13:34-35). And then the apostle Paul tells us not to conform to the patterns of this world, and so we need to be – should be – very different to it (Romans 12:1-2). Perhaps over morning tea or supper today, talk to one another about this very thing: Are we any different, and in what ways should we be? The world in which we live might not like us to be different, but they desperately need to see that we are, so too, our Lord and God.

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