“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12
As the Connections Director, I get the opportunity to meet a lot of new people week to week. I love hearing their stories, hearing what God is stirring in their hearts, and talking to them about God’s beautifully thought-out and purposeful design for them as individuals. I truly love this! I love the realization people have when God reveals this to them. We are all unique and different! However, I’ve really been thinking more about this as it pertains to all of us as a body of believers.
Something that I think often gets overlooked though, or is maybe taken for granted, is the beauty of our diversity. Throughout 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the many spiritual gifts that we have been given by the Holy Spirit. These gifts all vary person to person. My gifts and personality are not the exact same as yours. We are all different and we were made like this on purpose for a purpose. God did not create us all to be the same carbon copies of each other. Nor should we strive to be like each other. We should be living out who God called us to be and strive to be like Jesus. Together, we have unity in Jesus Christ.
Even so, our flawed human nature wants things our own way. A lot of times we see our differences, and they cause pain and dissension. But, is that really what God intended? Did God design us to be different and then fight one another to make the other fall in line behind us? No. We aren’t calling everyone else to be like us, we should be calling on Jesus to show us, together in unity, the way forward. Together we find a better way. Two minds are greater than one! Our differences make us stronger.
As Christians, we have a great opportunity to approach differences and conflict in a God-honoring way. This is where I like to start. 1) I recognize that the person in front of me is an invaluable, child of God. He created them with love and intentionality. 2) I recognize that they might see things differently than I do, so I want to understand and see how they see. 3) I go to God and pray for wisdom. How do we move forward toward a common good for all? What is God’s best for this situation?
There will be times that you’re in a tough spot and can’t see eye to eye, that’s a larger discussion for another time. You can’t take control or responsibility for others’ actions. However, you can control and take responsibility for how you approach differences.
Think about your current circumstances: What conflicts are currently in front of you? Are you approaching them in a Godly way? If not, what steps can you take to change your perspective, conversations, and actions?
God, I am incredibly thankful that you have created me and everyone around me uniquely and perfectly in your image. I praise you today that I have brothers and sisters who think and see the world differently, because together we are stronger. Help me to see this truth in every situation and conversation. I pray for your wisdom, your guidance, and your grace – that my words and actions are a reflection of who you are and what you have already done for us in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.