I have no problem with “separate”; I’m an introvert. In a culture that almost worships and deifies high energy, extroverted relationships, I am quite comfortable with quiet thought. That’s a rather awkward statement to make because, as a pastor, expectations are that I will be engaging, feeding-off relationships and crowds. Not so! In fact after a busy Sunday preaching and engaging with people it takes me a full day, sometimes two, just to get back a bit of energy.
It’s not that I dislike people – just the opposite is true. Those who know me best will tell you that if I have a fault, it’s that I think the best of people’s intentions, and always give the benefit of the doubt. People have to prove they have wrong intentions, and even then I hold strongly to the hope that it was just a temporary blip, and soon all will be well. I’m wrong sometimes, but that’s the life of a hopeful introvert!
In today’s Scripture, the admonition to “be separate” isn’t suggesting you fill out a membership application for the introvert’s club…but it’s close. We introverts hope all the extroverted, fun, engaging people will like us, but we’re not going to lose sleep if you don’t. Being separate isn’t about being self-sufficient, go-it-alone John Wayne tough; anything but! Separation is more about living a life consistent with Christian values so you don’t have to “go it alone”.
Life lived in-Christ is a life that often times turns its back on the most popular thoughts and activities this world offers. If you’re an introvert, that makes choosing a different road a lot easier; after all, you do it naturally!