Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, —1 Peter 2:11a
Ever felt like you don’t belong? You know that first day of school experience where we assume that everyone else fits but you don’t. You are a foreigner, an exile, who is different from everyone else. But that experience changes. After a week or so, most of us found our place, our group of people who were like us and school became less scary. We no longer felt like foreigners because we learned the rules about what it meant to fit in.
This verse challenges us though. It is not referring to how we feel. It is referring to who we are. As Jesus followers, we are foreigners. We are exiles. If we feel this way, it’s because it’s who God has made us to be. We belong to a different kingdom, and we cannot fit in. We swim upstream because we are following the leading of the Spirit. We rub against the grain of the way life is supposed to work because we are going with the grain of God’s call on our lives. We find that the Spirit is shaping us to live in contrast to a life shaped by consumerism, materialism, individualism, successism, and controlism.
Unlike the first day of school experience, we are not called to get beyond the experience of not fitting in. In fact, we are invited on a journey with Jesus to grow in our daily experience of contrasting with the ways of the world. We live as a part of people of contrast who reflect God’s way of love. As we grow in love (being loved and giving love) that growth should reverberate in growing contrast to broader culture. After all, love is what got Jesus killed.