CONFORMATION VS. TRANSFORMATION
August 27, 2017
Today’s reading from Romans raises the question of the difference between conforming and transforming. Human beings have the desire to be liked by others. It is a good thing to be liked by others. However, it is easy to get trapped into blending in and not standing up for what it is right. I gave the example of the Monarch butterfly in a sermon a couple of weeks ago. This week I am using the example of the chameleon. It has the incredible ability to change its outer colour to that of its nearest object. It blends in with the surroundings. The chameleon becomes almost invisible to those around it.
It is not hard for a person to become an emotional chameleon in order to be liked by those around them. In gangs and cults uniformity means conformity. Time and again we see generation after generation struggle with conformity. Perhaps the greatest example is the diametrically opposite responses of the crowds when Jesus enters Jerusalem and when Jesus is sentenced to death by crucifixion. During the trial of Jesus even Peter frightened by the prospect of arrest denied even knowing Jesus. Conforming to a principle or group which holds to immoral teachings and actions is at best non-courageous but at worst a re-enforcement of sinful ways.
Paul is imploring the readers of his letter to have the courage to change your mind and stand up for what is right. In other words Paul is imploring us to transform. He knows standing up for Jesus means experiencing the awkward and painful times of exclusion and being labeled as an ‘outsider’. What has to be remembered is that there is a greater cost to conformity. When a person decides to go along with teachings or actions that are counter to God’s expectations as stated in the Bible they have broken the beautiful sacred relationship between God and humans. I am certain that each of us have had a moment to either blend in or stand out. The pressure and lie of conformity is that ‘conforming is the only and best way to live’.
It takes courage to stand up and say:
I will not stand with those who act and teach about hate for others.
I will not stand with those who say God is dead or that there is no God.
I will not stand with those who say Jesus is one of many ways to God.
I will not stand with those who are condescending of Christianity and the Bible.
I will not stand with those who desire wealth and things more than the riches of God.
I will not stand with those who think it is sissy to pray for others
Let us each make a difference by being different from the malaise of indifference. Let us all transform from being liked by others at all cost to at all cost loving Jesus.
Let us pray