I had been contemplating Romans 12: 2 for some time when I found the first seed of what it might mean. A friend of mine was angry, not at me, just angry and ranting at me about his anger. When I replied, instead of getting loud with him, or even speaking in a normal voice, I spoke in something just above a whisper. The first few times I did this he, obviously, didn’t hear me. Then in the middle of a rant he did. When he did he stopped his rant, and leaned in to try to hear what I was saying better. At first, he would return to his loud rant, but rather quickly he slowly got softer himself. My reaction wasn’t feeding his anger. I was not energizing the situation, but making him diffuse, pause, and in trying to hear me he was peacefully forced to stop-pause and reflect.
It was some time after that conversation took place that I began to understand that what I had done was a facet of what Romans 12:2 was trying to tell me. In a very, very, very small way, that exchange was a picture of what ‘not being in the world, copying the world, or conforming to the world’ was. (I inserted several scriptural translations there so you could get the complete picture of the fullness of what that phrase really means.) Whatever the world is doing around me, I should probably do the opposite of that in some way.
If you want to test this theory out run some thought experiments. Put yourself in various dramatic situations….You are in Nazi Germany and everyone around you is turning in Jews to the state. You are a Roman watching Christians being rounded up to go the coliseum. You find yourself in the middle of a KKK rally where someone is being whipped for the color of their skin. Find your own scenario and really explore the idea.
The above scenarios are big and scary things, but they are somewhat perfect pictures that sometimes when we follow the masses the M is silent. They are also examples of how people allow themselves to become conformed to the world and its’ customs.
We are called, in Romans 12: 2, to allow God to transform the way we think. Why? Well, because our thoughts become our emotions become our actions. If we are challenging/changing our thinking in this way, then something miraculous happens: We will learn to know God’s will for our life. Not only will we know it, but we will live it, and that will be pleasing.
The world has many of us convinced that the person who screams loudest wins. That should be our first clue we should whisper. Romans 8: 37 tells us that we are more than conquerors. Put both scriptures together we begin to see that what the world considers to be ‘winning’ is not.
Take a look around you right now, in these divisive times, see what the world is doing. It is time to do different. It is time to be different. It is time to allow God to transform our thinking.
Just some food for thought and prayer.
Here I am, Lord, send me!
Lisa Lee Brandel, Kolbe Evangelization Commission Chair