God has seen to it that we each have our own perspective. How wonderful that you and I think differently. Yet, our worlds are perplexed in conflict because of those differences.
Another problem: Trust is hedged in all manner of doubt, because we often don’t trust our own insight; experience has told us we do not see as others see—regarding the philosophical things of life.
Differences Highlight Our Togetherness
But there is a twist to this phenomenon of differences. Because of our differences we cannot ever be powerful enough to change the world by ourselves. We need a degree of unification to achieve anything of substance. The sum of us moving together is greater, by far, than the addition of all roving separately. Our unity acts as a multiplier, if we will, each of us, surrender to the common good.
We need each other. We cannot feel truly human, at home in our own bodies and minds, without connecting and assimilating with our kind.
For me to see what you see, and vice versa, is important but it’s not a game-breaker.
Even more important than unsolicited or domineering ventures of agreement—where there is an expectation to conform—is for each person to feel adequately autonomous and valued for what they actually think. Only then can the whole be a much greater force than a collection of individuals.
It’s when we reach a place of respecting differences, agreeing to respectfully disagree yet not harbouring even a waft of a grudge (yes, really!), that we experience the maturity that God has for us as individuals in this realm of fellowship.
Differences Make Our World More Interesting
Perhaps we’re beginning to see that life would be boring with like-types all around us. Sure, it would be safe and predictable but we might as likely end up in conflict because of a lack of conflict.
Appreciating diversity is not just about giving those different to us a fair go; it’s as much about honouring the vastness in the possibility of experience. We live in a big world because we serve a big God. Life seems overwhelming because of this vastness. We are tempted to shrink because our minds are easily blown away. The point is, maturing is as much about accepting the global vastness and the possibility of experience as anything else.
Diversity is to be celebrated; it’s when everyone wins.
When we consider the blessings provided to us because of our differences, these same differences are less of a real threat. Our conflicts are better understood; they are even expected, and welcomed.
If only we can embrace those who are different to us without polarising into who is right and who is wrong.
But, we can expect this to be a continual challenge for each of us.
Differences don’t make life easy. We see uniquely. Life without difference, however, would be banal. Valuing diversity is beyond embracing conflict; it’s critical for our survival. Conflict is not the problem; it’s the key ingredient compelling us toward the solution.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.