There is something our society needs to hear. There is something we need to listen too. But before I share what that is, I need to confess somethings. The first is that I need to hear it as well. The second this is . . .
I am different. Ask those that know me, they will affirm my claim. I am different. There are ways that I am like no one else. I know this because some have told me, “You’re different.” Others have said, “You ain’t right.” Then there is my favorite, “You don’t act like any preacher I have known.” (I never know if I am supposed to feel complimented or insulted by that.) I am different. I am unique. Mr. Rogers told me. I was watching him on PBS when I was little, some 45 years ago, when he looked right at me and said, “There is no one in the whole world quite like you.” I am different.
So are you!
We make different choices. We have different styles. We support different sports teams. We have different abilities. We have different vocations. We are different physically and emotionally. We have different families with unique tendencies. We have different backgrounds, languages, and dialects. We are all different from each other. Different is good. One of the beauties of our world is her diversity.
Yet, diversity does not have to mean division!
When describing humanity, the apostle Paul shared this simple truth,
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
Left to our own we are full of ideas and perform actions that cause division and such division is not from God. Division brings hatred between mankind.
The accuser of mankind, the great deceiver, Satan loves to divide us. From the very beginning he worked to divide man from God. You see him working in the pages of scripture to divide nations. We see him throughout history working to divide families. Satan and the world want us divided over political parties without discussing the issues. Satan wants us divided over race, nationality, etc. These things go against God.
Again it is Paul who tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:29-31).
Diversity – yes! Division – NO!
Here is what needs to be said:
Personal opinions and personal tastes are just that – personal. (Phil 2:3-4)
As I heard one politician say recently to a gathering of Christians, “It should not be about the donkey. It should not be about the elephant. It should be all about the LAMB.” Let me amend that to say “It is not about me. It is not about you. It is not about white or black. It is all about Christ and Him crucified for all.”
Jesus, the Christ might have said it this way, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Oh, wait, He did say that (Mark 12:29-31).