Significant Differences

December 9, 2008 — Leave a comment

When the dissolution of a marriage is announced, it’s not uncommon for the stated reason to be “irreconcilable differences.” In fact, this has seemed to become a catch phrase for any decision on the couple’s part to abandon the effort to save their marriage. How many of the differences truly are irreconcilable is hard to say. It seems that many could be resolved if each partner was willing to let go of their pride instead of their marriage. Significant differences happen, but it’s probably less often the case than divorce papers would make us believe.

What’s true in marriage, is also true in other relationships. Rarely are we unable to resolve differences with one another if maintaining the relationship instead of our ego is the goal. However, as Christians, we are called to maintain some significant differences from those who haven’t put their faith in Christ. These differences can sometimes serve as the basis for irreconciliation. When we have to choose between relationships and Christ, we must choose Christ every time. However, in order for this decision to mean anything the differences we claim must be tangible and concrete. In other words, our non-Christian friends should be able to tell what these differences are, and understand why our lives must not be lived in parallel with theirs.

Which brings me to the point of this little discourse. Sometimes, the differences we claim are indistinguishable to the world around us. A local Christian radio station has been playing Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving. They position this format change as “Christmas music with a difference.” However, a few dial turns up the radio there is another, secular station playing Christmas music and I would venture to say that if the listeners didn’t know which station the radio was tuned to, they wouldn’t be able to tell from the music. The exact same songs about Santa, reindeers and snowmen are played on each, just as songs about angels, shepherds and the birth of the babe are featured. Whatever the difference is between the two stations, it must not have anything to do with the content and in a format where content is king, it seems that’s the only difference that could truly be significant.

If Christians are going to claim a difference from the world, it would be good if they were clear about what those differences are. If our lives (and our music) are the same as others, what’s the point of calling it Christian? When we are placing Christ’s name on something, let’s hope that we are doing so on that which glorifies Him. And that is always going to create a significant difference.

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