It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day so I know I won't be the only one posting on a similar topic today. But that doesn't mean that it still doesn't need to be said. A lot of years I focus my reflection on MLK on his teachings of peace. Not because they are more important than his teachings on racial equality, but because they are less known and I feel passionate about them. But this year I just keep reflecting on diversity. The past couple of years have seen racial inequality at some of it's worst. I have literally gone to bed crying some nights after watching news reports of unrest and injustice and I refuse to look at a lot of internet articles because I know the comment section will just make me frustrated and furious.
I started this post on Saturday but wasn't finished so decided to wait to post it until today. Then I went to church yesterday, and the pastor, Sam Storms, deviated from our discussion in the book of James, to doing a sermon on ethnic diversity in the church and in marriage. It was simply incredible and he says it way better than I could. I'm linking the sermon at the end of this, and I urge you to listen/watch it. To sum up a lot of what he said "To treat any human of any ethnicity as of less worth than another is tantamount to blasphemy. When you devalue another ethnicity, you devalue God because He is their creator and they all together share equally in His image." This is so powerful. It is not just merely that we should treat all people as equals, as Believers, we are commanded to do so. It is not optional. But something he said at the end resonated with me as well. "Inter-racial marriage, or marriage of mixed ethnicities, is not merely to be tolerated but celebrated!" And I found myself reflecting on how that is true of diversity in general. We should not merely tolerate other ethnicities, we should embrace them. It is not enough to merely say that we agree that all people are equal but then continue to isolate ourselves. Diversity is essential.
Diversity is not just something that I tolerate, or even just something that I enjoy; it is something that I crave. I find myself gravitating towards people who are different than I am. Frankly, I find hanging out with people who look, act, think, and talk just like me a little boring. And that's the thing. When we segregate ourselves based on anything, including ethnicity, we are not only hurting those that we exclude, we are also hurting ourselves. I learn a lot from people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. I learn about other cultures, and how other families do things, but I also learn more about God. If everyone is created in His image (and we all are!) then each person we come into contact with teaches us a little bit more about His image, about who He is. So just as we devalue God when we devalue those that He created; we also miss out on part of who He is when we refuse to get to know people who are different than we are. So if you have friends that come from different cultures and backgrounds, be grateful for them. Learn from them, and share your own experiences too. If you don't, take a step of faith and befriend someone who is different from you. Get to know that international college student that goes to your church, or the neighbor down the street who moved here from another country, or the person you work with you is of a different ethnicity than you. Don't merely tolerate diversity, crave it, celebrate it.
Christ-Follower. Writer. Caffeine-addict.