Yes, I do live in Florida, but up here in north Florida your mower sits gathering dust, leaves, spider webs, and other assorted natural trash from November 1 till March 1, and sometimes beyond. What in the world was he mowing? I wondered. I never did find out, but it struck me that if I had driven by he would have looked odd sitting on a lawn mower with a heavy jacket, gloves, and a wool hat. I wonder if he worried about what the people who drove by his yard thought about him.
You think not? You’re probably right. Something needed to be done that involved a lawn mower and so he did it. It’s really no one else’s business what it was and why he felt the need to do it. Then why in the world do we get so uncomfortable when we look different to the world?
We always direct thoughts like this to the young, but peer pressure works on every age, not just teenagers. Isn’t that why we become uncommonly quiet when certain topics of conversation come up among our friends in the world? We Americans often argue about our right to be individuals, usually quoting from works like 1984, calling Big Government laws we don’t like “Orwellian” because they take away the rights of the individual. Then when the time comes to actually stand up and be an individual, to act differently than the mainstream of society, to talk differently, dress differently, live differently, we are just as bad as a teenager who wants to do what “everyone else is doing.” Like a chameleon, we want to camouflage ourselves and blend in.
So, can I really do this? Do I have the strength to stand out in a crowd? Can I be the one that every Sesame Street viewing child can point out as “not the same?” God expects me to do just that. In fact, he says, that if I live by the standards his Son taught I will not be able to help being different. Some people will hate me for it; but others will respect me for it. And maybe a few will be influenced to change their own lives. We cannot have that influence if we are busy putting on our camo gear every morning before we go out. Yes, the snipers might get us if we go out in blaze orange, but the ones who are looking for a way out of the woods might see us too.
Beloved I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims to abstain from fleshly lusts which war after the soul; having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that wherein they speak against you as evil-doers they may by your good works which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. I Pet 2:11,12.