No-one can ever and should ever expect that you should be someone else. In a world of copy cats and following trends it has become increasingly challenging to be yourself. I guess it has always been that way but technology has the tendency to rub how the other guy is doing it in your face without relent. It has exponentially grown the culture of outdoing one another or worse, the expectation that you should do it like me. Be it how you dress, lead or even parent. We constantly preach at one another through our online soap boxes in subtle and more obnoxious ways. All in all I think this online chaos is just an amplification of the analogue world.
There is wisdom and a better way and it is part of life that those who possess her hard to come by truths should guide those displaying a lack of it. That is different from trying to change the essence of someone. I believe wisdom always revolves around the goodwill toward other people and when we do things that negatively impact others it calls for intervention and the truth to be communicated. But always in love with a preference for the growth and prosperity of that person. Being selfish and being different is not the same thing. We only hope to change selfishness not uniqueness. We can try squash someone’s differing ways but it usually has the adverse affect because people tend to rebel against oppression even if it is subtle. I think the place I have experienced a kind of almost bullying to change the colourfulness of people the most is in Christianity where we have somehow taken freedom and put it in the back row of our conscience in preference for sets of expected behaviours that fit in a human culture and has nothing to do with the culture of Jesus. Those of us who are in positions of leadership try our utmost to manage people and put them in our narrow pipelines of what a Christian is, how a Christian should lead and how we should engage with a growing unchurched culture. We constantly try to create cookie cutter bland versions of our ideas around following Christ.
We never learn to appreciate those who are different and do not fit one of our boxes, we have made discipleship a one way process and so we are never teachable. The church is called to be way more colourful and diverse than the streamlined Sunday monoculture experiences we have made it. Maybe this post is just an incoherent mix of idealism and pretentiousness but I do believe we as the wider church are sitting on the sidelines while culture is racing past us. The only way for us to engage with culture is start being colourful and widen our permitted culture in church. We need to hang up some of our ideas of how someone ought to act and realize that we have made up rules not sanctioned by God. We need to remind ourselves that the law and the prophets hangs on two commands. Love God with all your mind, soul and strength and inseparable from that, love your neighbour as yourself. Around these commands God has provided us an awesome book of endless wisdom that represents His Word.
If who we are and how we live fits within these parameters of love than no man has the right to tell you to be different.