It took a long time for me to understand the value of diversity.
One of the burdens I carried as a result of my spiritual pride was an attitude of being right. About everything. All the time.
When you start there, it only makes sense to make a list of rules and expectations and then to expect everyone to live up to the same standard. That standard was pervasive, detailing every aspect of life.
Checklists were critical and I was good at them.
One of the natural consequences of strict regulation is conformity. I thought all Christians should dress alike and talk alike. It only made sense that they should watch the same movies or listen to the same music. Deviations from my defined standard resulted in condemnation and judgment and isolation.
Not only was I wrong about being right, I was wrong about wanting everyone to be the same. And not only was I wrong, but I missed out on benefitting from those who were different from me.
God made each one of us different. As he designed you and me, he had a unique individual in mind. Our personalities are different. Our interests our different. Our gifts are different. And our churches should reflect these differences.
When we limit the type of person or people who can receive grace, then we insult the gospel. We insult the cross.
Sin distorts who God created us to be. But if we demand conformity amongst Christians, then we are also distorting that same creation. We are trying too make people reflect who we want them to be, superficial rules and all, instead of who God has made them to be.
Quite honestly, in my conformity I was just kidding myself. At best I was imitating other people who were pretending to be people that they were really not. You might say that church was primarily a masquerade party.
A game of pretend.
I was controlling every external aspect of my life but I did not deal with my heart. I ignored real issues such as patience and selfishness and love so that I could focus on what everyone else could see such as alcohol and cuss words and not eating out on Sunday.
Heaven will be very diverse. I cannot begin to imagine the differences in people that will be there. As Revelation 5:9 tells us, there will be someone from every tribe, tongue, and nation.
And despite our differences we will have one thing in common, Jesus.
Why not be that way now? Why not have churches that reflect this immense diversity. When we all dress the same, talk, the same, and engage in the same activities, it makes life pretty boring.
Do you avoid diversity? How have you been able to experience the perspective of Christians who are different than you. Join the conversation by leaving a comment.
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