13 Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Don’t be conformed to your former desires, those that shaped you when you were ignorant. But, as obedient children, 15 you must be holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you is holy. 16 It is written, You will be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16
What does it really mean to be holy?
I have a friend who thinks he’s always wrong. In fact, he thinks he is wrong, inherently. I’ve heard guilt and shame differentiated like this: guilt is the feeling that you’ve done wrong, and shame is the feeling that you are wrong. My friend has both. All the time.
It holds him back in some ways. It makes relationships difficult. He has a hard time trusting but also has a hard time engaging people because he’s afraid he’s just going to make their lives worse. At times, this also makes it difficult to be his friend. He’s had a very hard life. He reminds me of those dogs at rescue shelters that are so skittish- but really come to life when they’re loved. That’s how he is. He knows that too. I’ve told him.
Despite some of the difficulties that he has being a friend and the difficulties others have being friends back, he’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Maybe the best. He never stops pursuing relationship. He never stops pursuing wholeness when things are broken. When times have been hard between us, we’ve gone to work on the friendship. I’ve seen him love people and commit to his church and loving the people in his church even as they’ve not always been so loving in return. I’ve seen him consistently befriend the friendless and give to those who have nothing.
When you meet him, there’s nothing about him that screams “holy” at you. He’s just a simple, humble kind of guy who has problems. And yet I’ve never seen someone embody love to everyone around him the way I’ve seen him do it. He doesn’t talk a big game or monopolize every conversation with spiritual language and lingo, but he’s thoughtful. He’s distinct. He lives a life that’s different from most in the world. He’s “set apart”.
I suspect holiness looks something like that.