ARE YOU MORPHING?
In 1991, Michael Jackson released a video to his song Black or White. I remember watching this video the first time and being blown away by the seamless transition of change from one person’s face to the next. It was truly fascinating. The word used for this process is called “morphing.” According to the dictionary, the word means to transform or be completely transformed in appearance or character.
I was reminded of this word a couple weeks ago when I was at work. (I work at an assisted living facility.) One gentleman looked at my hair (which is getting grayer every year) and said, “You’re beginning to look like the people you hang around with.” Now, although I was surprised he said it, I wasn’t offended at all. I chuckled and told him I started getting a few gray hairs way back when I taught and coached high school kids in the 1990’s.
Now I know I can’t instantly morph into an 80-year old person, but it got me thinking about how we change with the company we keep. Think about it. The longer you’re around a group of people, the more like them you become. You begin picking up their habits, whether good or bad. You begin talking like them, thinking like them, dressing like them, adopting the same philosophies or attitudes, etc. And I think it’s safe to say many of us lose who we once were prior to this morphing phenomenon.
The Apostle Paul warns us of this slippery slope in Romans 12:2 by saying, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Interestingly enough the word “transformed” in the original Greek is Metamorphoo and it means “to change into another form; to transfigure.”
So, if morphing does indeed occur as we do life with all kinds of people, does this put us in a quandary? (Remember that popular saying “Don’t drink, cuss, smoke, or chew…or run around with girls who do.”) Should we simply stay away from anyone we consider a bad influence? Are we supposed to be protecting ourselves from the “undesirables” and “ill-approved” people in society? Is the solution to make sure we only hang around good, godly people so they can be a positive influence on us? My answer would be an emphatic NO.
When Jesus prayed for His disciples (John 17:6-19), He prayed specifically that God would not take them out of this world. He didn’t want Christians to completely avoid non-Christians. He prayed, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one…Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world…”
Jesus is sending us into the world as well. Not to be “of the world,” not to morph into the world, but to love those in it. Jesus spent time with the so-called “undesirables” and “ill-approved” people of society. He did life with them, yet did not become one of them. He hung out with them, yet did not condone their behavior. He didn’t condemn, He showed kindness. He didn’t morph, He loved unconditionally.
Let us not morph into the fallen world in which we live. Let us renew our minds. Let us be sanctified by Truth, God’s Truth, as we seek to live and love like Jesus. Above all let our striving be to morph into the One loves us, loves others, and seeks to save the lost.