Please read this post all the way to the end. Yes, you!
What does every human being on the face of the earth have in common? I’m sure you can think of several answers.
We all need air to breathe.
We all feel pain.
We all need love.
But there’s something else that I’m thinking of, something that most people probably wouldn’t think of right away as an answer. What is it?
We’re all different.
Yes, being different is what we all have incommon! Now I can get pretty deep and confusing sometimes, but hang with me here. We are all different. Just like no two snowflakes are identical, no two humans are identical either. Even “identical” twins have some differences!
The world has placed so many expectations on people. Expectations that we will all be “the same.” That we will all fit in their “box,” but who are “they” to set such expectations in the first place? Who are “they” to define what success or beauty or purpose or worth look like?
The problem is that as humans we all have the desire to fit in. Sometimes this manifests itself as us trying to be like everyone else, and other times, as us trying to make everybody else be like us. Either way, we’re going to run into a problem (or 10,000!). There is no way for us to be exactly like everybody else (after all, “they” aren’t even all exactly like each other!). There is also no way for us to make everyone else like us, and we’re not supposed to!
Our differences are what make us beautiful! We each have our own purpose, our own perspective, our own place in this world that no one else can fill. We are all truly irreplaceable. No one else can be you! And you are not supposed to be anybody but yourself!
Think about it, where else in life is everything identical? Nowhere!
And would we even want it to be identical? No!
I can’t even imagine how boring our world would be!
Imagine a world without the variety of topography. No black sand beaches, no majestic mountains, no calming rivers winding through rolling valleys, no curiosity inducing canyons. Imagine a world without the diversity of plant and animal life. No towering sequoias, no breathtaking roses, no adorable baby bunnies, no powerful elephants, no beautiful butterflies. What would our world be like?
In one word, sad. We would be missing out on SO much. So much wonder, so much inspiration, so much joy, so much beauty!
Different is beautiful!
Different is necessary, different is helpful, different is useful. Different is worthy of kindness and respect.
Regardless of gender, age, skin color, ethnicity, education, occupation, beliefs, etc., every single human being has the right to be treated with basic kindness and dignity. No one, no one deserves to be mistreated just because someone else perceives them as different. Imagine what our world could be like if everyone would just accept others’ differences and be kind!
Really, if you get to the heart of many of the issues in our world, it all comes down to people not accepting that other people are going to be different from them. It’s just the way the world was created. We were all made different. We’re not supposed to be the same!
It may be natural for us to feel threatened by the differences of someone else, as if who they are will somehow take away from who we are, but it isn’t normal. We should have learned by now that our worth is not dependent on what anyone else says or does or is. Our worth comes from the fact that we are made in the image of God. And whether or not you believe in God doesn’t change that fact, He still loves you because He made you. As a Christian, I find it hard to separate the issue of worth from our identity as God’s creation. If we were not made by a Higher Power, and we are just a product of random evolution, then we really don’t have any worth. If that is true and we’re all just a lucky accident, then nobody should have any expectation of being treated with dignity and kindness, but we all do expect that! Why?
I think it’s because somewhere deep inside, no matter what you believe, we all have the innate knowledge that we were made with worth. Sometimes the words and expectations of the world cause us to lose sight of it, but we still know it’s there. We know that our differences are what make us special, but in a world where different is looked at as bad, sometimes we try to hide those differences. We worry that our differences will cause us to be disliked, or insulted, or mistreated. What’s worse is that so very frequently that is exactly what happens.
Someone doesn’t like what you look like or how you dress and they call you names. Someone doesn’t agree with your beliefs and so they mock you. Someone doesn’t think your interests are useful and so they belittle them.
Too often we believe those unkind, insulting voices and we hide the beautiful differences that make us who we are, but no one should feel like their differences make them unworthy.
No one should ever treat anyone else as less than, worthless, or inhuman just because they aredifferent. Everyone has the right to disagree with anyone else’s opinions, beliefs, and choices, but they need to do it respectfully. Because while we are all different, deep down we are all the same. We are all humans. We all have the same basic needs for love and acceptance, and we all have a right to be treated kindly!
Remember these things the next time someone else’s differences make you uncomfortable.
If you need even more encouragement to celebrate your differences as a good thing, here is a new song by Novelle. Play it the next time you feel hurt and abused by the cruel words of a small minded person who is focused on your differences.