God calls to live differently by living the same.
The title to this post can be read in many different ways (no pun intended).
Some of us read being 'different 'as a positive, while others will read it as a negative. And each way has its own variations on what that means. For example, I see a person who is different in the positive sense as someone who stands out of the crowd by something he or she has done or does.
Steve Jobs comes to mind as someone who is different in the positive sense. His visionary thinking set him apart from other people like Bill Gates in that he saw differently and created products and software platforms that actually transform the entire world and reshaped the way we behave. (Apple's "Think Different" campaign featured visionaries across all different walks of life; )
Then there are people who are simply "different" as in they are not like you or me. They speak with a funny accent or they limp when they walk, or they simply don't think as quickly or clearly as "regular" people do. Jean Vanier, the brilliant and compassionate Canadian Catholic philosopher, humanitarian, and theologian, wrote a wonderful book on this called "Living Gently In A Violent World." I highly recommend this quick, yet profound read on what it means to live differently.
We are all different. That's what makes us unique. But God calls to live differently by living the same. That is to say to live righteously. This is not some lofty goal, by a way of life.
Too often when we hear that word "righteous" we often think 1) it's unattainable because "there is no way I could ever live up to a standard God desires" or 2) we hear the word 'righteous' and think negatively, associating it with a phrase like "oh, she's so self-righteous."
To "live differently but the same" does not mean living in a judgmental 'better-than-thou-' attitude, but instead in simple goodness, or godliness. To show love, kindness, and to be self-giving and generous. Is this what people see in you? Simple goodness? A goodness which is prepared to think well of others, of all stripes and colors, who are 'different' than you despite how the world might define them?
Think about who you are or how you act when you are around someone smarter than you (or less intelligent as you); someone richer than you (or poorer than you); someone more successful or less successful; more attractive or less attractive. You get the picture. Do you act or behave differently towards someone who is handicap, or who is famous, or more vulnerable?
Would you behave differently around Jesus than you would say some guy named Jesús?
We all have a vocation to show something of the goodness of God to others in the world.
I invite you to take a moment and pray that the light of God's love might shine from you and through you into the world around you.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one ..."