The more we appreciate and respect our unique differences, in love, the more freedom we issue to others and ourselves. We are shackled to nothing. A multiplicity of freedom reigns.
Indeed, the freedom extant in such appreciation is the purpose of fellowship, enshrined in the majesty of love. Even more we enjoy the differences in our ethnicity, racial disparity, and gender gaps.
We seek to outdo the other, in honour, because of these differences. This is God’s will. It is to be our passion.
Differences Heighten Our Love
Where love exists—and because love never fails—it overflows over those with most inherent difference compared with us.
For me, a Caucasian, to love an indigenous Australian is a challenge because of our potential racial differences, including the perceived prejudices we must compensate for. I sincerely want to love them all the more, because they may feel, before our encounter, this prejudice. I want them to be pleasantly surprised, and comfortable, with me. If we extend the discussion, me a Christian toward another, perhaps a Muslim, I want to love them all the more because I see they may sense prejudice within me; something I would want to shun because I don’t feel that way. Further, a person of Indian upbringing has vastly different cultural experience to an Australian; yet, I want to embrace their cooking, art, and taste for colour (and lots of other things) as proof that I’m no better than they are (and no worse, either).
We are to hope that all differences meld into unity. This is how we ‘fight’ for equality. We attentively fight for their rights, not ours.
One-on-one rapport with those who are uniquely different has to be closer as the goal becomes one of developed accord.
The only exception, for either side, should be gaps in truth. And either side should feel their love will carry them over the line as they redress situations in care and concern for the other.
The Wonder in Difference
This is why the above works. There is a basic wonder that occurs within an open heart upon the consideration of someone vastly different.
Wonder flourishes more and more when we recognise the truth: they will always be so inimitably different, yet we share more in common than we have in difference when we share the impassioned burden of love for each other.
Love is the common denominator that shatters all boundaries of prejudicial fabrication.
It creates a seminary of wonder because of the hope we have that people with such differences could become our best of friends.
Differences that are successfully melded show us both to be people of God—unconditional acceptance because of, above all, the motive of love.
There is another reason why Jesus wanted us to love our enemies (not that those different to us are ‘enemies’—far from it).
We see the majesty of God at work when we shelve our biases and throw open the gates of our hearts to welcome all the diversity under God’s heavens. We begin to become truly ourselves under such conditions.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.