Of course, it’s tempting to blend into society today. And sometimes, it feels hard to be a Christian in the world today. We often feel the tug to separate ourselves from what the world calls usual. But we also feel the tug of the world to conform to what it calls normal. This tension forces us to make hard choices. We must choose what movies to watch and what music to play throughout the day. We must choose our sexual lifestyles and what language we use. Even making the choice to stay silent or speak out in the face of injustice depends on our knowledge of what it means to be a Christian. Hard choices never seem to go away.
But one thing we can be sure of is that people are watching what we do, especially non-Christians. And as informed Christians, we have a duty to represent Jesus Christ, as we know is best. So blending into where uninformed people can’t tell what a real Christian life looks like is really not an option. Such conformity only hurts those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or who don’t know God well. The apostle Paul told the people of Corinth something similar.
Informed Christians during Paul’s life knew not to eat food that was sacrificed to idols. But they also knew that the food itself did not make them evil. That means they could actually eat in the same temples as the idols. And as long as they did not dedicate their food to the idols, they were free from doing wrong. But Paul told the church of Corinth that unbelievers or new Christians could see informed Christians in the temples of idols eating and influence non-Christians or new Christians to think it is okay to eat food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8). Now this issue might not translate well to our times. But the principle still applies.
For instance, most Christians today know it’s not a sin to go to the movies. And the movies Christians watch do not determine their salvation. But like the apostle Paul, we have to question what’s the impact of us going to movies that are not so Christian-like. Of course, the sexual perversion, violence, profanity, and drug use in movies do not make Christians “non-Christians.” But if non-Christians or new Christians see other Christians going to movies full of such content, they might naturally think it’s okay to take part in the activities portrayed in the movies. The same principle is true for nightclubs, music, and other activities. Thus, we must always think of how our behavior will affect another with less knowledge than us. Besides, it’s probably not a good idea to take part in any activities verging on the indecent regardless of our knowledge of God.
* When I say informed Christians, I mean Christians who have a full knowledge of what it means to be a Christian. Being informed does not depend on our maturity. It depends on our awareness of right and wrong in situations.