Accepting Our Differences

 There are over seven billion people on this planet. Not only do we look different than each other, but each person also has a unique personality and unique beliefs. Too often these differences have caused division instead of appreciation and unity. Our history books are filled with examples of racial discrimination and segregation. 

Unfortunately, we have not yet rid ourselves of prejudice and division. In most schools, we categorize people as brains, jocks, preps, nerds, geeks, skaters, druggies. gay, straight, and more. Youth try hard to fit into one of these categories. After high school we are put into more categories: unskilled labor, housewives, management, welfare recipients, executives, and freeloaders. We classify everyone from the beggar on the street to the entrepreneur who owns half of the street. As a result, we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. We do not dream of unity, harmony, peace and love, acceptance and understanding, much less experience them in reality. 

“Unfortunately, we have not yet rid ourselves of prejudice and division.”

Judgments and stereotypes have created some to feel inferior – some to feel superior.  The weak, the hurting, the old, the minorities, and the handicapped many times feel forgotten. Instead of loving and giving, we are fighting and taking. The loudest voices seem to dominate our society as we deteriorate to the laws of the animal kingdom’s survival of the fittest. 

“Instead of loving and giving, we are fighting and taking.”

I saw a cartoon called “Mountain of Success.” At the bottom of a mountain, a man starts climbing. He is sweating and puffing as he inches toward the top. The crowded path is rough and steep. He steps on people and pulls others down because he thinks it’s the only way to make it to the top. When he gets to the top, a look of accomplishment quickly fades as he sighs and looks around. There is another person at the top and he asks, “What’s up here?” The person answers, “Nothing, but don’t tell them!” And he points to the masses struggling up the hill. 

I want to tell them! I want to scream for all to hear: “That’s not where life is found!” Life is not a game where the person with the most toys at the end wins! I am not saying that we should give up all dreams of success and progress. For sin is being less than what we were created to be and literally means “missing the mark.” 

“Our passions will determine our goals, and our goals have determined the behavior that has caused division.”

I do not applaud success at any cost nor do I encourage giving up. The issue I want to address is our focus. What have we given our passions, longings, desires, and interests to? In other words, what has captured our hearts? Our passions will determine our goals, and our goals have determined the behavior that has caused division. What should we focus on? I believe we should aim for love. When we focus in on our individuality, we lose love. But when we focus in on love, we’ll find new freedom in our individuality. 

We were designed to live for love. Our first priority should be to love God and then to love others as we love ourselves. When we live by and for love, we will celebrate the differences of each individual. Our differences were meant to pull us together, not push us apart. Instead of fighting for what will bring liberty and justice to all of society, we are living for number one. Yet when someone lives a selfish lifestyle, there is no joy. We weren’t meant to live independently. It’s time to see that our differences are what can make life exciting again. Our differences can bring purpose back to our hearts and challenge us to take steps to see words like unity, harmony, and peace, become more of a reality. But it’s only possible as we focus in on love and not our differences. I urge you to also take the necessary step of focusing in on the Author and Creator of love. He’s been called love itself. God is love! I believe He is the only answer to help us go from living for self to living for love!!

“We were designed to live for love. Our first priority should be to love God and then to love others as we love ourselves.”