I found this moth sitting on our door last week. At first I thought it was a leaf. On closer inspection I noticed the “leaf” had legs.
What great camouflage! From a hungry bird’s perspective: almost impossible to distinguish between this insect and the gum leaves in surrounding trees and garden beds.
This got me thinking and reading about whether or not we, as Christians, should blend in with the people around us.
My conclusion? Blending in is not actually a bad thing! As long as it’s done for the right reasons.
I did my high school Work Experience placement in a consulate. What characters I met! I find cross-cultural work fascinating: Before even setting foot on foreign soil, ambassadors must be carefully briefed about the target culture – how to fit in with local customs, how to follow basic dinner table etiquette, how to show proper respect, and what sorts of social faux pas to avoid.
The apostle Paul said we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20). Far from withdrawing himself from the communities around him, Paul immersed himself in their cultures. He adapted to their ways. He found common ground with people who didn’t yet believe. (1 Cor 9:19-22)
Why did he blend in? Was it because he had low self-esteem and couldn’t stand up for his faith? Was he ashamed of the gospel – the good news about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection? No! Quite the opposite: it was for the sake of the gospel (v.22)
We’re not all preachers, like Paul was, but we can all follow his example. We can thoughtfully engage with the cultures around us, seeking to find common ground with people who don’t share our beliefs. We can shine God’s love in a way that takes into account a person’s particular background and set of life experiences.
Lord Jesus, some of us blend in so naturally with our surroundings, to the point that we fail to be a shining light for you. Others of us try so hard to live a holy life that we become hard to relate to. Please fill us with wisdom to move towards the middle. We want to use our natural talents and unique personalities as bridges to the people around us who don’t yet know you. Amen
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