Finding Peace Through Our Differences
By: Madisen Hill
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer to everyone.”
After the launch of “Being: Me”, I felt stuck. I had worked so hard on getting everything done that I hadn’t thought much about what I would do next. I knew the topics I wanted to eventually write about and share with you all through my blog, but I didn’t feel as if any of those ideas fit where I am at right now in my journey. I took a few steps back and thought about the situations and conversations I am going through in my day-to- day life, and one topic kept coming to mind.
Most people in my life know that I have always chosen to be a follower of Christ. It is not something I hide or stay quiet about. I do my best to live a Christ-centered life in all that I do, and even if we have spent minimal time together, you know this about me. However, when “Being: Me” came to life, I had multiple people say to me, “I didn’t know you were THAT Christian.” Or, “I knew you were religious, but I didn’t realize it was THAT important to you.”
Some of those statements came from innocence, but some of them came with a sense of judgement. It was as if the image of who I was in their eyes would never be the same. Even though we had previously bonded and created a friendship based off of love and kindness, the moment my faith became a reality to them, I was no longer the person they thought I was. I became their “idea” of what a Christian is, despite everything they already knew about me. I am still trying to figure out when the change happened where being a Christian came with such a negative connotation and an assumption that we are all judgmental hypocrites. Too harsh? I’m not so sure.
Honestly? I think we are all guilty of judgement. I think the lack of understanding each other has resulted in bitterness and unacceptance. But how can we judge something we don’t understand? I have learned a lot in my years living in Los Angeles about people who believe differently than me, and even people who don’t believe in anything. Of course it is hard for me to understand. My whole life I have worked hard for the purpose of glorifying God. I’ve been challenged by my faith daily, and I personally can’t fathom not having that as a driving force in my life.
But what about the people who weren’t raised like me? What about the people who have never heard anything about God other than what they read on the internet and through media? What about the people who have felt hurt by God and can’t seem to forgive the pain they felt? And most importantly, what about the people who have felt judged and excluded by Christians themselves? When we put all of these differences aside, we can start to realize how we all need the same thing. We all need love. We all need kindness. We all need to feel understood. But no one deserves to feel attacked. No one deserves to feel less than. No one deserves to feel alone.
As Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Within the last year, I have witnessed firsthand how people hate on the unknown. We all have our own imagination, and within that, we create these images of people based off of how our choice of media describes them. I’ve learned that with a lack of knowledge, our own opinions grow stronger. We get defensive and feel like we must always be ready to verbally attack the ones who don’t agree with us. I’m a firm believer that if everyone was able to witness different cultures with their own eyes; our world’s outlook would change. If we could create true relationships and friendships with everyone around us, our differences would seem smaller because we would be connected to each other through genuine love first. Ultimately, there is power in knowledge. Wouldn’t it be so neat if we could all learn to listen to each other? I am NOT saying we all have to agree, but if we could just be open to learning about each other, then we could start to understand the other side of the spectrum.
Every opportunity I am given to share my faith with a peer, co-worker, or even a stranger, I do not take it for granted. It is the perfect opportunity to share why I believe what I believe, and every time, I learn more about my own faith because of the curiosity that follows my story. I am challenged by their questions and forced to look deep inside of myself for answers that I had never thought about prior to that moment. As a result, my faith grows stronger.
As followers of Christ, never forget that it is most important to stand by what you believe in and never sway from what God has instructed us to do. There will always be someone in your life who doesn’t believe the same way you do, but it is our job to share God’s word with every person we meet. Most importantly, remember to be kind with your words, exactly how Jesus would. Do not be full of hate. Do not be full of judgement. That is not our job. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer to everyone.” Colossians 4:6