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How to Love People Who are Different Than You

How to Love People Who are Different Than You

God intentionally created everyone to be unique. And when we appreciate the uniqueness that we see in others, we truly honor the creative work of God around us. The world is a work of art, full of color and full of diversity.

Nobody looks quite like you look. You’re not one in a million; you’re one in 7 billion! And if you have a problem with people who are different from you, you really have a problem with God. Racism is essentially believing that God should have made everyone else to be just like you.

First Corinthians 15:38-40 says, “God gives everything the kind of body he wants it to have. People, animals, birds and fish are each made of flesh, but none of them are alike. Everything in the heavens has a body, and so does everything on earth. But each one is very different from all the others” (CEV). That’s intentionality.

Then the Bible says, in Acts 17:26“From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be” (CEV).

We all ultimately descended from two mutual parents, Adam and Eve. Our unity was fractured by sin and its effects, but God created us for oneness. And the church is ultimately the steward of that oneness. Every church should, as much as possible, reflect the diversity of its surrounding community and set the example for the rest of the world in terms of cultivating oneness in diversity.

We talk so much about the brokenness of sin in our lives leaving us all with hurts, habits and hang-ups. And those hurts affect every relationship in our lives. The obvious ones are with our spouses, our kids, our parents and our siblings. But that same brokenness is evident when there is prejudice buried deep in our hearts toward people of other races and ethnicities.

Part of the journey toward wholeness and healing is making amends with the people we’ve offended and hurt, and that includes people we’ve pushed away because of racial and ethnic differences.

In other words, recovery isn’t just an issue of overcoming addictions. It’s also an issue of showing love to everyone around us.

And here are four ways to show love to people with whom you have differences.

  • Listen to them. When you listen to people, you’re giving them the ability to speak to you while affirming their dignity.
  • Look at them. When you give people your attention, you’re giving them the most important thing you possess your—time.
  • Learn from them. You can learn from anyone when you ask the right questions and when you are teachable.
  • Laugh with them. Humor is a great equalizer and lowers tension. The words humor and humility come from the same root. The mark of humility is your ability to laugh at yourself.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18“Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with him” (NCV).

When you’ve experienced redemption through Christ, and reconciliation with God and with other people, you can’t help but turn outward and be an agent of reconciliation in all of your relationships. And that includes your relationships with people who are simply different from you by God’s creative design.

This article originally appeared here.