Have you ever read or heard a story that rattles you?
Recently I read a very well-written post by an atheist entitled What I Want Christians to Understand. In it, she recounts a story of a Christian who used her influence in a harmful way, posting an altogether uncalled for comment on a murdered woman’s Facebook Page. This Christian has since issued an apology, but that doesn’t change the fact that the damage has been done.
As I read through the post, my heart broke that people are treated this way.
Our world is filled with people from all backgrounds and belief systems. People of every skin tone and socio-economic status live in this country. Whether you believe in Jesus, Muhammed, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or nothing at all, you have a soul and are a beautiful creation.
Probably the thing that upset me the most was how Christians treat other people.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the little Christian bubble, surrounded by people who look like, think like, and act like you, but I don’t think that’s how we’re supposed to live.
When I’m looking to join or start a team, one of the main things I look for is diversity. I don’t just care about a difference in skin color but background, education level, experiences, and age. If I surround myself with people who think like me, my ideas will never be challenged. If I only hang out with white people I could easily overlook issues experienced by other ethnicities. If I limit my friend group to those who have the same educational background as I do, I wouldn’t be encouraged to learn more and might look down on those who are less educated. If I only hang out with Christians, it would become easy to vilify the world around me. I don’t ever want to be that person.
This nation was founded upon a competition of ideas; debates and discussions helped our forefathers form and run this country. Amazing inventions have been birthed because people who thought differently came together to create something they wouldn’t have been able to do alone.
Now, I believe the Bible is the infallible word of God. I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven and he’s made that way available to us because he loves us. I won’t compromise on that.
But just because I believe something different than someone else doesn’t mean that I am better than them. I learn so much from people who are different than me. I learned from this dear atheist who was brave enough to honestly and openly express herself. She inspired me to be a better human and encouraged me to better serve my community. Her vulnerability challenged me to be more vulnerable myself.
When was the last time you read a book written by someone who thought differently than you? Or when was the last time you invited someone in to challenge your thought process? Do you look for diversity in groups or do you like them to look the same?
I believe that Jesus was a big fan of diversity – look at the differentiation among his followers! Jesus lived out truth and love to the people around him regardless of where they came from or what they looked like or even what they believed. Let’s strive to be more like Jesus today!
To go Deeper: Read Ministry of Reconciliation