People are just different. The more I engage people the more I realize this obvious truth. We all live and interact with all sorts of people who are different from us and different from each other. Whether its their race, their culture, their wiring, their opinions, their passions or if they like their coffee iced or brewed, these things make us unique and at the same time can set us against each other.
I can’t help but notice in the news what these difference are causing to happen in our world. The Gaza conflict, the persecutions in Iraq, even the recent riots in Ferguson are evidence that the world is not handling these differences very well. The problem seems a world away until it hits home. And when it actually affects our life, that’s when it really hits home.
Not too long ago I pulled up on an accident scene that just happened. I pulled over to make sure everyone was alright and next thing I know I’m being accused of being a racist just because I have a shaved head. I think I’m starting to understand the depths and the challenge behind Rodney King’s infamous words, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
I believe when we focus on the differences in each other is sets us against each other, but when we do our best to embrace and understand the differences, that’s when we begin to work through them. If we always expect people to be just like us, no matter what we are dealing with, we are setting ourselves up for frustration. It could be as simple as disagreeing on which restaurant to eat at or as difficult as deciding a strategic direction for an organization, embracing our differences is the starting point to changing our world.
Even Jesus never forced anyone to change, but by embracing people in spite of their differences, He gave them a reason to change. That’s why He is the great example for all of us to “just get along” and change our world.
So let me challenge you, like I am challenged every day, to embrace those who are different than you and give them a reason to change themselves. Imagine if the whole world started to do this, what would the news talk about?
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28