Some people think that Christians are odd people, assuming that we are out of touch with reality. Frankly, some Christians are odd people, but not at any higher percentage than any other people. It is not whether or not one is a Christian that makes a person come across as odd.
Howard Hughes was considered odd by many people, yet he was one of the wealthiest, most brilliant people in the world. Yet for all his money he lived mostly alone as a recluse for many years. Elon Musk is considered odd by many people today, and yet he had a vision for making reusable rockets to take satellites and astronauts into space, and he made it happen. So just because someone seems odd to you that isn’t a reason to discredit them, or write them off.
The truth be told, regardless of our belief system, we all have qualities or traits that appear odd to others. We all have our quirks. As a pastor, I understand this oh so well. When I enter a group of non-church-going people, people are cordial and interact with me “normally” until someone calls out: “Pastor Ed!” Then like the Red Sea before Moses, the waters part and people begin to move away from where the pastor is. Now, to me, that is odd. Nothing changed in me to make people feel the need to avoid me. By the way, this happens no matter who the minister is.
Did you know that the New Testament teaches that all born-again Christians are saints, because the word “saint” simply means “holy.” The problem is that to many people “holy” means miserable, judgmental, arrogant and aggressive. But none of those words are part of the real definition of holy.
The word holy specifically means “set apart, different, reserved for a particular use.” In the Old Testament, God is declared to be holy, because He is of a different kind that we are. God is the eternal Creator, we are his mortal creation made in his image, but we are not god. God is immortal, humans are mortal.
In the New Testament, God became human flesh in the person of Jesus. He was 100 percent God, as much of God as could be contained in a human body. At the same time Jesus was fully human. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, to die in our place, so that we could be forgiven and reconnected in a life-giving relationship with God. When God comes to live inside us, we become saints, because our lives are reserved for God, set apart for him to live in and through us. This makes us “different” and that difference causes some to think us odd.
But in reality we are to model the values of God and manifest the goodness, grace, kindness, peace and joy of God in a world that sees us as a threat to selfish living. Truthfully, all of us are sinners, Christians and non-Christians. We all have an independent streak that wants to do our own will. It is only when God comes to reside in the believer, that we have the power and wisdom to make selfless choices.
Jesus attracted all kinds of people to himself during his 33-year life in Judea. He was recognized as having the power and love of God living in him. People left all to become his followers. He died so that we could be restored to a living relationship with God, now, in our lifetime, not just providing a ticket to Heaven. As he lives within us, we become different people than we were before. As Paul states in 2 Corinthians 2:14 (CSB): “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” We spread the sweet aroma of Jesus wherever we go.
Unfortunately, not everyone who goes by the name Christian is sweet, kind, thoughtful, peaceful and loving. To consistently be thoughtful, sweet, kind, joyful and loving to others is rare. So our goal is not to be odd and obnoxious, but to become rare genuine expressions of the person and character of Jesus.
Francis De Sales explained it this way: “Sanctity (i.e. saintly living) does not consist in being odd, but it does consist in being rare.” Those, like Billy Graham, to whom others apply the word “saint” as a compliment, are rare.
How do people experience your life? Is your representation of Jesus perceived as odd or rare? Are you odd or rare?
Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church in Gwynn, Virginia. He can be reached at email@example.com.