1 Peter 1:14-16
A Good Stereotype…
When we become Christians, we are asked to leave our old ways behind:
“Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, ‘Be holy because I (am) holy.'” -1 Peter 1:14-16, NAB
As Catholics, we are called to a higher moral standard. We simply cannot accept the ways of this world, we must choose to live a life that is right with God. Our old ways should be shed for a new way, in the light of Jesus Christ.
This weekend, I had a conversation while on a retreat at my local parish. A topic of conversation came up that I had not thought about for awhile. Maybe you have been in a similar situation. Have you ever said about someone, “He or she is a good person – they’re a Christian.” People look at Christians stereotypically as good people. I especially look back at the time before my conversion, and I can distinctly remember feeling that way. Outsiders often automatically assume that because we are Christians, that we must have good moral character. Should we?
The answer, of course, is yes. The world is full of stereotypes, but this is one that we should be afraid to be labeled with. When others find out about your faith, many will automatically assume that you are a good person. In fact, when we show the smallest sign of weakness, they use that as ammunition against us. It can definitely be a double-edged sword.
So, where did this stereotype come from? Well, it came from generations of Christians who aspired to live better lives. As the rest of the world continues to spiral down a darker path, Christians remain a light unto the world, and people notice. Looking back at my own life, I wonder why I did not aspire to live the same way. I sat on the outside looking in, and I often thought, “I wish I could be that good of a person.” Never did it dawn on me that I could have the same life too. How blind are we?
One thing is certain, however – we do not automatically fit this stereotype. We know that there are plenty of Christians who do not live up to these standards, and it is our job to help get them there. When we accept Christ, we do not get some miraculous change in our lives that makes us live up to higher standards. We still have free will, and we can still fall to temptation. But, we are graced with the Holy Spirit who, if we allow Him, will guide us to where we need to go.
Are you living up to this stereotype? Are you a light unto the world? Let go of the ways of your past, and live as Christ did. Help keep this wonderful stereotype alive.