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Strangers here.

Posted by on in Faith and Following Jesus
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In light of recent outrage over the shocking display on this year’s {insert name of any awards show here}, I've been wrestling with these thoughts...

Imagine a new family finally bought the house across the street. They have two kids close in age to your own. They have a dog. The mom and dad are already sprucing up the overgrown lawn, tearing out those old shrubs you always thought were an eyesore. You’re going to like these neighbors.

You bake cookies, rinse out your finest Tupperware, and ring the doorbell.

As the door opens you notice something strange. Everyone in the family, including the dog, is wearing the same purple hat.

“What’s with the hats?” You ask good-naturedly, “Family picture?”

It’s not picture day.

The new family quickly informs you that you've arrived in the middle of their hat ceremony, when they ask the purple people that live below the ground to help them be good lovers of purple and to experience purple throughout their day.

“OK,” you say, looking to exit. “Well…I’ll leave you to it!”

They’re not finished. They expect changes. When will you start waving your purple flag and wearing purple on Thursdays? They also expect you to stop wearing orange, EVER, the obvious antithesis of all things purple. If the neighborhood doesn't shape up, the new homeowners will boycott association meetings and write a nasty letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

“That’s crazy!” you exclaim, “You guys just moved here. How dare you force us to live by your ridiculous rules?”

Strange scenario, right? Would never happen. But, what if this is how we’re perceived when we make our demands on the world around us?

We serve a God they may not believe in.

We follow rules they find silly.

We boycott stuff they view as innocuous.

We expect them to live like us.

We get so angry when they disrespect us by allowing vulgarity to enter our homes through the screens they somehow forced us to turn on.

In his first letter to Christ followers, the Apostle Peter aptly describes us as strangers in the world (1 Peter 1:1). He tells us to live our lives that way, as if we are strangers here (v. 17). How’re we doing with that? A stranger invites. A stranger doesn't barge in. A stranger earns trust.

For much of my adult life I expected others to conform to me. I was shocked when I was mocked; angry when I wasn't vindicated; surprised when asked to stop talking about my beliefs by people I loved. People who loved me.

I had the best intentions. I didn't want them to go to hell. I still don’t.

I forgot that I’m a stranger; even among folks I've known my entire life.  The moment I gave my life completely to the One who completely accepts me, I became a stranger in my own world.  I needed to learn to live that way.

Years later, I’m only beginning to understand what it means to be a stranger here while embracing the Hope of an unbelievable promise; attempting to offer that gift with humbled hands instead of a demanding voice. I wonder which will earn more opportunities to share said gift?

Oh, and speaking of awards…I hear the Emmys are coming soon. I think I’ll tune out the show and the resulting editorials.

Please Share: When have you seen a relationship crumble because you've forgotten your status as a stranger in this world?

 

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