While peeling potatoes the other day I was struck by their diversity of shape. Some of their knobs made them hard to peel but on the other hand made the task a little more interesting. I don’t mind getting a bag of potatoes of all sizes and shapes.
Geneticists try to breed absolute uniformity into all kinds of products from eggs to beef to corn and tomatoes. So far they haven’t been able to engineer a square tomato so it can be packaged and shipped easier and so the slices will fit bread more accurately. I’m glad they have been unsuccessful. I love variety, don’t you?
Diverse trees with their distinctive leaves. Varieties of flowers. Different breeds of dogs. Diverse kinds of rocks and topography. Varied shells. What a boring world it would be if everywhere we looked we encountered sameness. <a
But what about differences in people? Besides the obvious differences of sex, race, language, stature, etc. we have diversity of personality. Some are sanguine: easy-going, cheerful types while others are melancholic: brooding and perfectionist. Then we have those who like solitude and those who enjoy the company of others. We have people who are timid or brazen, anxious or self-confident, huggers and non-huggers, talkers and listeners, vegetarians and meat-eaters.
The problem arises when different personalities join together on a committee or in a marriage or on a management team. The more intimate the relationship, the more of a challenge getting along creates. Sadly, many disputes occur not over essential values and beliefs, but over personal opinions and preferences. Colours, clothes, and foods; how to share responsibilities, how much planning is needed, what management styles to use, where to spend Christmas, whether to collect or cull, and on and on it goes.
In Romans 14 and 15 Paul urges his hearers to accept one another, love one another, and stop judging one another concerning disputable matters. Instead, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Rom. 14:19). (See also Rom 14:1-8).
[In Philippians Paul urges us to have the same attitude as Christ. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3,4).
So instead of letting the differences of others frustrate us, let’s ask God—their Creator—to help us learn to value their opinions and personalities. Let’s listen to others. Let’s appreciate the distinctives of other races and cultures. Let’s celebrate human diversity.