There has been time, maybe not enough but at least I can think and talk about the scene without boiling emotions flowing over inside. The accusation of lacking integrity because I was simply different was almost more than I could handle. There were two stings. First, doubts flooded my heart; the comments could actually be true. Second, facts flooded my mind. I knew I wasn’t different enough! So many lost opportunities! So many people crying out in pain, asking for the help I knew my God could give. I wanted to respond from the rooftops, I wasn’t different! Yet I knew I was and am. Does the difference matter? If it does, am I willing to muster the courage to be what God calls me to be?
Living out your values and priorities, especially distinctly different ones, takes buckets of courage. The drain will exceed any and all reserves. The question of how different you are willing to be will not go away with time, it will gain in momentum and legitimacy. Society drives people to mediocrity no matter what rhetoric we use to the contrary. Anyone looking to excel, live life to the full, and exercise values and priorities based on the community (versus self) will be different. The question is not one of being different or of how much difference there is. Life question pivots on the conviction of our hearts in how different we will be. Anything that resembles conviction of purpose and mission will requires God given courage.
In an old story the parents of a blind man who could now see were being challenged to speak the truth. They folded and buckled in the political heat. “His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place.” (John 9.22) Courage in this case had run away.
I wonder if it is any different in my life. Whatever yesterday’s answer, today’s has yet to be written.
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