Our world is full of differences. There are so many hobbies, interests, religions, ideas, perceptions, passions..you name it. Yet in the midst of all of these differences we are still looking at each other for confirmation that we are going in the right direction. We do this because we need people. We look at our surroundings to measure ourself. It isn’t all bad as it sounds. It’s healthy to evaluate yourself and adjust as needed. Several places in the Bible even direct us to do just that (1 Corinthians 11:31, Galatians 6:4) It only becomes unhealthy when you abandon yourself (your inner values and spiritual guidance) in order to achieve a higher level of acceptance. We all want to fit in but the root of that is just that we want to be accepted.
We have all become experts on finding what is different, but an effective analysis also requires an understanding of what is the same. We will always need connection, but how can we find similarities in a world so different? Our differences and our needs are the keys to that. The many differences we all have are certainly what make us unique, but those differences are also the very thing that make us the same. We are all different and that unites us. Our needs work the same way. Our needs are all different and they change all the time, but the thing that never changes is the fact that we all have needs.
What would happen in our hearts if we started seeing what was the same in everyone instead of what is different? Personally, when I look at what is different in others, I am not always looking at the things that are good in your differences. No, if I’m being honest, my first reaction views your differences from a place of scarcity. This means I am looking at how you are different from me in a sense of “what do you have that I do not?” A happier life comes from understanding that I have what I need and you have what you need. This helps me appreciate your differences rather than want for them.
Another really beautiful thing comes to mind from all of this. If we think about Jesus’ act on the cross, we are reminded that it was done because we are loved. You are loved. I am loved. We are worth love. No matter how different we all are, as you look around searching for unity today or moving forward, remember that we are all different, we all have needs, and we are all worth love.