Celebrating Differences

We went fishing at the lake the other day and next to us was a family with five kids. They were talking and laughing and skipping rocks and trying to catch a fish. The dad spent most of his time untangling the kids’ fishing poles. I asked him if they’d caught anything and we struck up a conversation about curfews and the sad state of our world. 

In the course of our conversation, he said to me, “Yeah, I’m just trying to teach these kids that we are all equal and no one is better than anyone else.” A challenging proposition in our world these days!

I gave my full agreement and in that moment, I realized we were just people gathered on a lakeshore, fishing with our kids. It didn’t matter that his skin was dark and mine is light. 

It was a sweet moment and one that my kids noticed. We talked about it as we drove home that day. The fact that despite all the unrest in our world, most humans are just like us, trying to do the right thing and raise our children with values and strength of character. It doesn’t matter where we live, what color we are, what our occupations are. We are all humans, created in God’s image, and formed by a wonderfully creative Creator Who values difference.

And because of that, the world is full of differences. Differences of opinion, religion, language, political leaning. We do things differently, smell differently, look differently. We live different sorts of lives, work different kinds of jobs, have different kinds of families. 

Even in our own house, we have differences. Boys and girls, neat and messy, emotional and logical, tall and short, talkative and quiet. We all do things differently, and even look at the world differently. Each one of our family members is unique and special and brings a different perspective to the world. 

My sweet 9-yr-old girl prayed the other night, “Thank You, Lord, for the birds that sing in the morning and the frogs that make songs at night.” She loves God’s creation and she notices flowers, rocks and creatures that others overlook. Together we have studied the brilliant colors of the land and sea, the astounding abilities God gave animals to eat and hide and hunt and reproduce. We’ve caught and inspected turtles, toads, caterpillars, frogs and birds. Each facet of God’s creation is amazing and unrepeatable. 

On the other hand, my son loves to figure out how things work. We have watched countless YouTube videos to figure out how to install a deck mower belt on the lawn mower or change the tire on his bike. He looks at the world differently, with an inquisitive eye and analytical mind to evaluate the working system. 

 Then there’s the marriage relationship. I don’t know about you, but my husband and I don’t always see things the same way. We can either fight and bicker over our differences or choose to value the other’s perspective as unique and valid and see what amazing things God can do with us together!

So my question is this. What if I chose to celebrate the differences rather than condemning them? What if I quit fearing the differences and start learning from them? What if I stop trying to make everyone be like me and let people be themselves, with all the uniquenesses God created in them? What if I start valuing the differences and listening to others opinions rather than thinking I’m right? What if I embrace God’s creativity in all His creation and choose to appreciate each part, noticing the goodness in all of it?