Learning to Appreciate Diversity
Reading history makes me inclined to believe that it is God’s intention for us to live not just in racial or cultural diversity but also ideological and interpretational diversity as well. And in this diversity to relate lovingly with each other inspite of our differences. To deal lovingly does not necessarily mean sweetness or tenderness, which are common misconceptions of love, but more to be patient with each other, kind, not envious, or boastful, or proud, or rude, or self-seeking. With this filter we find that the application of love is not merely about how one feels but about one does. Is it loving to be friendly yet chronically be late? That is being rude. Is it loving to be sweet yet unable to see another person apart from their utility to us? That’s self-seeking. Is it loving to be righteous yet be manipulative, and gossiping, and scheming? That is pride. (And is that even righteous?) The reality is we are all, in our own way, unloving. Some are unkind with words, others are rude with lack of discipline wasting the time and resources that could go to making others better. Some are envious and selfish, others are proud. In me I recognize all of the above. Which leads me to focus on Christ’s simple yet profound truth: Don’t focus on the speck in your brother’s eye when you have a log in yours. As we do that, as we focus on where we enjoy forgiveness and grace, we find our love for God and others increasing (those forgiven much love much), and we learn how to live with the difference of others and treat them with true love and respect. Because the only way to appreciate the creative tension and wonder in the chaos of diversity is to live out the requirement of loving our neighbor as ourself.