Aliens and Strangers in the World – 1 Peter 2:11

Jim Elliott and his missionary colleagues loved the Auca Indians. For several years they prayed for and sought every opportunity to reach this violent group of South American natives who were known to be hostile toward outsiders. They air-dropped gifts to the Aucas, and did everything in their power to show their friendly intentions. After a few peaceful encounters, the Auca turned on the missionaries and killed them all. Why? Why show hostility to someone who has shown you only love and grace?

C.S. Lewis authored a theological science fiction series called the Space Trilogy. It follows the adventures of Dr. Ransom as he encounters alien beings on neigboring planets. In one of these stories Ransom is carried to Mars where he encounters huge, monstrous looking creatures coming toward him. He assumes the creatures are hostile and that they want to eat him! What he didn’t know was that they had friendly intentions and actually wanted to help him. He ran in terror and almost died in his own irrational fear of these beings. They were creatures that had never fallen into sin and, consequently, were unimaginably righteous. But Ransom could only fear them; he could not understand them.

True righteousness is often incomprehensible to those who have never experienced a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Have you ever had a conversation with a non-Christian who simply could not understand what you were talking about when you discussed the things of God? Our convictions and beliefs seem puzzling to outsiders who may be hostile or even fearful.

It is strange to say, but what comes most naturally to us as human beings is to be attracted by evil and repulsed by true holiness. What is it that makes us want to watch things on television that we know we shouldn’t view? Why does a lively and interesting conversation with a stranger come to a screeching halt the moment I answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” Why do people usually find movie villians to be far more interesting and compelling than movie heroes? (Let’s face it, Darth Vader is a lot more fun to watch than Luke Skywalker!). Why is Milton’s Paradise Lost a classic, while Paradise Regained is a sleeper?

The answer is that we live in a sinful and fallen world in which we who have received Christ’s righteousness and who seek to live differently are aliens and strangers in a strange land. We are like Lewis’s friendly giants. People are frightened and some are even repulsed by our commitment to Jesus, righteous living, and the Bible. Don’t be surprised when people show it, love them, pray for them, and continue to walk in obedience. Also, don’t be surprised at your own propensity to be lured toward the dark side. Pray earnestly every day that God will “lead us not into temptation.”