Nothing bothered me more than my sister mimicking me. “Stop copying me,” I would yell. “Stop copying me,” she would yell back doing her best impersonation of me as a whiny obnoxious child. Of course I was never ever whiny or obnoxious in my life, at least that’s the way I remember it. This form of torture proved more effective at driving me crazy than any insult that could be leveled. Of course you didn’t always have to use words to inflict harm. Words could be heard from another room or from the front seat of the car but mimicking movements was a form of stealth attack that almost always hit the target undetected by the parental police department – PPD. Regardless of the type of attack, eventually a request for outside assistance would be made by the sibling that was losing the copying battle. Mom always had a go-to phrase. It really didn’t make things better, but it did shut us up.
Mimicry is the highest form of flattery.
There is no comeback, nothing that could be said to oppose this go-to statement used by my mother. You just had to sit there and wonder, if it was such a compliment to copy someone, why did it work so well as a weapon?
I am old enough now to understand that what my mother said was accurate but not applicable to the situation. In an adult context, mimicking a person, a marketing strategy or a product is flattering because it says who they are or what they have created is so good that it is the standard for everything that follows.
To copy is to recreate without improvement, to perpetuate all that is good and all that is bad.
Great leaders give direction, pointing us away from the dangers of life. Great actors give us characters that allow us escape into a different world while they enjoy personal fame and fortune, a glamourous life that we desire. Great business people show us that there is the possibility that hard work will lead to success, riches and power, a lifestyle we covet. We believe if we can copy these people we will achieve what our human nature tells us is success.
To be truly relevant as a Christ follower and collective of Christ followers we must address the culture around us, not mimic it.
I wish the culture around us was like my sister and I. I wish that every time someone copied the ways of the world in the name of reaching it with the gospel, those in the world would yell back “stop copying me.” There is more to reaching the world with the gospel than mimicking the actions of socially minded humanitarians. God intended us to act out of compassion for both the needs of the present and the eternal. A full stomach, a clothed body with a place to live still lacks the most important necessity, God.
Faith without works is dead but works without the presentation of faith is a poorly executed knock off of God’s intended way for us to represent Him to the world.