One look around your family will prove that we each have our unique features. And if you have children, look out!
How can offspring from the same parents think, look, and act so differently from one another?
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We were created in the image and after the likeness of a Triune God. The Trinity shows remarkable unity and diversity. The Persons of the Trinity have many qualities in common, but they also have many differences.
Likewise, as His image-bearers, we have many qualities in common with each other. But we also have many differences.
When it comes to your children, you don’t have a choice: you get what God gives you. But in virtually every other partnership you have the tragic option to gather only people like you. Imagine if the preponderance of your relationships looked like that!
Married to someone just like yourself? No thanks! That’s probably why opposites attract–we need one another for balance.
Children who act exactly like you? God probably gave you one–and that’s the one you lose your patience with the quickest.
Co-workers just like you? Imagine the lack of creativity because of a shortage of creative people. Or the absence of attention to detail because you ONLY have creative people.
Neighbors just like you? Identical lawns, paint colors, interior design, and–at neighborhood picnics–ten identical side dishes. Yuk!
A church made up of members just like you? Vanilla. And ineffective.
When seeking a spouse, look for someone who complements you (and compliments you).
When hiring, look for someone who will bring qualities your present team is lacking.
When assembling a church leadership team, look for people who will reflect the diversity of your congregation.
1) Sin does not constitute a “difference.” I’m not saying we should celebrate others’ sins, but their differences.
2) Don’t superimpose yourself onto people you don’t know. A new employee at a previous company asked me about our policy on vacation days. I don’t miss much work, so I assumed no one misses much work. I told him that we didn’t have a firm vacation policy since no one abuses their time off. That same year, the new employee tried to take the entire month of December off for Christmas.
3) Remember that being surrounded by others who are different can help you grow. In patience, in understanding, in character, in creativity.
Our natural tendency is to celebrate people like us and avoid others. The next time you’re frustrated by that family member (or co-worker, or neighbor, or church member) who walks to the beat of a different drum, pause and give God thanks for creating us to reflect His diversity.