I have just been contemplating the many ways that our society seeks to separate us and how detrimental the practice is to us as a community. We were created for community. Even scripture tells us that God made us male and female and that woman was actually taken from man. The segregation was our idea, not His. In society, we are separated by age, sex, by race, by socioeconomic level, by education level, and even the church separates us by” the church and the world”.
I would like to encourage you to look at how we are the same rather than how we are different and how we can come together rather than to remain apart. Now, even God did not make us into “cookie-cutter people” nor does He want that. I believe that He enjoys our uniqueness but He never intended for us to use it to separate us. When we view it as us and them, we not only divide but have a tendency to determine worth. Women are smarter/weaker/fill in the blank than men or one race is more likely to commit crime/live on government assistance/have children outside of marriage than another. Socioeconomic differences also cause us to determine worth when often lack of finances has nothing to do with either worth and value or intelligence. Each generation struggles with the younger one and the younger often thinks the older knows nothing at all.
How about the education piece? Well, definitely those with more degrees and letters behind their names are smarter and more valuable than those who don’t possess that. It is just not true. Tell that to the person who has a Master’s degree and works at McDonald’s when he is communicating with a plumber who runs his own business. So why do we insist on classification? It is human nature. If I can meet a certain standard and you do not, well I must be better than you. But what if it is just not true? What if different is just different and not better or worse?
Then there is the church, which should be known by our love. Is love the banner under which we operate as we consider and encounter those “in the world”? Now, I am not encouraging anyone to go against what they know is true or to ignore what they see as contrary to godliness but I am encouraging people to stop differentiating and start opening their minds. We are all people, young and old, men and women, all nationalities, all economic and education levels and Christian and non-Christian and we all have those among us who are good and bad, intelligent and not so much, loving and mean, caring and selfish. I would like to encourage you to look around this week and find someone who appears different from you and take a chance to get to know them. You may find there are more similarities than there are differences and you may even find the differences interesting and challenging. The older I get and the more people that I meet, the more I see how much alike we are rather than how different.