Sunday we talked about this question. I think it deserves more time.
Jesus, of course, is our model for what separateness looks like in real life. Jesus was perfect, as holy as holy can be, and he was a human as well as God. You just can't get holier than Jesus.
So, did Jesus' holiness attract people or did it repel people?
Depends on the people! Jesus' holiness attracted people who were helplessly broken. Those people thronged to Jesus. His extreme holiness came off to them not as a platform for condemnation or as a pedastal of pride, but as a balm for the wounds which sin had inflicted on them.
There was a group of people, however, that Jesus consistently repelled. These people were so inflamed by the radical holiness of Jesus that they grew to hate him, despising his mission, to the point that they killed him. Who were these people?
Largely Pharisees. Religious professionals. Holy types. Known for their separateness.
In fact, I was just reminded a few minutes ago that the word "Pharisee" most likely is translated, "separate one."
Blew me away.
That's why I had to write another post. Who do we think we are when we hoist ourselves onto the bandwagon lined up for all to see in the parade of holy people lead by the "separate ones?" I don't want to be part of that party.
There is, however, a holiness that atttracts. It's Jesus' kind. It is humble and gentle. It is honest. It is caring. Oh, how I want to be in that band.