Christians are to be distinctive people – different from those of the world in our behavior. This causes some in the world to consider us odd (1 Peter 4: 3, 4). Still, it’s really not that strange to not participate in some – many – sinful activities. For example, there’re lots of “good” non-Christians out there who aren’t drunkards or don’t practice immorality, and no one thinks that so strange.
Christians are occasionally guilty of strange behavior because of our own strange thinking. Sometimes, we think we’re making good decisions that become disastrous because they weren’t entirely based on God’s word (Proverbs 16: 25; 3: 5, 6). Anyway, the Christian life will be much more joyous if we avoid strange thinking in many matters.
In one particular case, we know we’ve got good news – great news, actually – that Jesus came to save humankind for the consequences of our sins (Romans 6: 23; 3: 23; John 3: 16, 17). God loves each person so much that even though we were his enemies, Jesus died for us (Romans 5: 6-10). Another part of our good news is that if we obey Jesus, he makes us kings in his kingdom to serve him as royal priests (Revelation 22: 1-5; 1 Peter 2: 9). Although we’re kings, we mustn’t fall into the trap of strangely thinking we’re so special as to be above punishment for sin or above meeting our responsibilities in Christian service.
Mordecai warned Esther that keeping quiet wouldn’t save her even though she was queen (Esther 4: 12-14). God puts us in positions, high or low, just so we can be reconciled to him (Acts 17: 26, 27) and to serve him. This involves declaring his praises, which includes spreading the good news enthusiastically (Acts 2: 42-47; 4: 18-20; 5: 41, 42); however, we shouldn’t start thinking that everyone will agree with us that the gospel is good news.
When we present the good news of salvation, some people will think we’re just plain nuts (Acts 26: 24-26; 2 Peter 2: 16-18). We shouldn’t think this or any other persecution – like being slandered – strange because God said it would happen (John 15: 18-25; 1 Peter 4: 12-14). Others will show interest but that doesn’t mean they’ll accept the message (Acts 28: 22; 17: 32-34; 2: 36-41). Many won’t even recognize it as coming from God (1 Thessalonians 2: 13). Whatever the case, we must always only speak accurately from God’s word (1 Peter 4: 11).
Otherwise, we’ll compromise the truth to appease our hearers and they’ll be misled to their and our own destruction (Matthew 15: 7-14; 18: 6, 7; 2 Peter 2: 1-3).
Second Samuel 4: 1-12 demonstrates the point that not everyone will agree that the gospel is good news. Two men thought they were doing a great deed in killing the successor to Saul’s throne and brought the good news to David. He didn’t think the news so great, although it opened the door for him to become king over all Israel. (See 2 Samuel 1: 1-16 and chapters 13 to 18, especially 18:19-33, for two more examples in which the news was not accepted as good.)
As in 2 Samuel, some people will actually view the news about Jesus as bad news (strange thinking, indeed). When they hear the truth about sin, the judgment, and punishment or salvation, they start thinking about family and friends who’ve died without coming to Jesus on his terms. What they need to know (more good news) is that it’s highly likely that those very same deceased family members are more concerned that we who are alive and remain learn the truth and follow God’s plan so we’ll avoid the punishment they know they face or so we’ll have the same joy of being in God’s presence they now enjoy, depending on their fate, which they accept as sealed (Luke 17: 19-31; Hebrews 11: 39-12:3).
When others think our behavior is strange because we’re actually behaving as a Christian should, we’re to make the most of the opportunity by telling them the good news of Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:15, 16). After all, that’s why God gives us those opportunities (Ephesians 5: 15, 16). God promises that his word will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it (Isaiah 55: 10, 11; 1 Corinthians 3: 5-7) and it’s each person’s own responsibility to accept or reject it as God’s word.
Consequently, when we do make the most of those opportunities, even if the other person doesn’t respond as we think they should, we’re still blessed. It is not strange thinking when Christians realize that most people will reject God’s great expressions of love in Christ (Matthew 7: 13, 14). These realizations also will lead to increased joy in our Christian life (1 Peter 4: 13).
Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ