In a post at wineskins.org entitled “What Do We Know Of Holy?”, Paula Harrington addresses how hurting people as well as those with whom we disagree are often mistreated in the body of Christ. In her opinion, much of the problem can be traced to a lack of active holiness in the lives of God’s people. After offering some scenarios in which an inappropriate response was given, she has this to say:
“What does holy look like when you’re faced with someone who doesn’t interpret Scripture the way you do? It looks like laying down your stones and choosing grace instead. That may mean withdrawal but it never means cruelty. What does holy look like when someone has been offended? Regardless of your opinion on the subject, holy looks like listening and trying to understand someone else’s viewpoint and story...In every relationship holiness looks like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s thinking Jesus and inviting him into every situation” (http://wineskins.org/2017/09/18/what-do-we-know-of-holy/).
“Holy” is one of those religious words that are easier to talk about than to practice. We are more comfortable with discussing it than doing it. Active holiness is far more difficult because, at that point, our living must begin to mesh with our knowing. I find it instructive that the Bible doesn’t tell us to “know holy” but often encourages us to “be holy” (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
Those of us who set apart for God’s purposes are called to exhibit holiness in all that we say or do. That can be a tall order. If you are like me, you find it easier to respond in kind to someone who mistreats you. It’s easier to be vengeful instead of forgiving. But that isn’t how a holy person should react. Harrington’s last statement in the post goes like this: “Church, it’s time we step up. We are God’s people. We know holy. Let’s start living it. The world is watching.” I agree.
God loves you!