Diversity is an incredible thing. I think that the world is a much better place that everyone is different. I know I wouldn’t want everyone to be like me, and I can’t really think of any one person that I would want everyone to be like either. It is a source of joy, excitement, and adventure, as well as confusion, misunderstanding and pain.
We may not admit it to ourselves, but we all have a relatively high “me” centeredness. Our way is the best way, because it comes from our specific background of decisions and priorities. If I want something a certain way, it is because I am used to it that way, or I think it will benefit me in some way, or I just like it. So it makes perfect sense in this broken world in which we live that when more than one person are in the same place that the potential for conflict is present. I don’t have your background, your history, your priorities. And you certainly don’t have mine.
So how do we as a collection of different quasi-selfish beings exist in harmony, in peace and even unity? What a question! I don’t think many have found the answer to this yet. A good example we have is in the early church, interestingly enough. Todays church is so full of differing opinions, politics, and divisive attitudes that we forget the beginning of the story. The weeks following Jesus resurrection and ascension to heaven were an amazing example of unity in community.
Check out the end of Acts chapter 2:
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Doesn’t get much more unified than that. There wasn’t selfish consumerism, or power grabbing. People simply lived as a unit. Need something? Here you go.
Genesis teaches that we were made in God’s image. The fact that we are all different teaches us that God is bigger than I am. Which means my need of God implies my need of others to show me a more complete picture of God. So how can I contribute to Unity in Diversity? I think it is a journey. I think it is hard work. I think it means being uncomfortable at times. I think it is a sacrifice, acknowledging my place in the bigger world (as opposed to my small ME world).
I encourage you to spend some time to think about the relationships in your life. How many of them are with people like you? How many of them are with those different? You need people different than you. If that means going and finding people different than you, do it! It gives us a greater appreciation of who we are in the grander scale of this world. And it gives us a better perspective on God and His character.
God is good. We are made in His image. All of us! The world may be broken, and us with it, but there is a spark of Light that comes from the Creator in all Created things. Find the Light, and unity doesn’t seem so hard.