Outside of Your Own Little World

I am realizing more and more that people don’t always fit into certain categories. I can’t squeeze someone into a box with someone else. Personalities and talents and characteristics vary greatly in people.

Even though my sisters and I come from the same two parents, we have very different tastes and opinions about a lot of things. My younger sister loves the outdoors, and my older sister adores books. I don’t love the outdoors or books. I would rather be baking a batch of muffins or blogging.

You won’t always be on the same page with everyone else. In fact, most of the time, you’ll probably disagree with other people. But that can be a good thing. Disagreements will hopefully lead to compromises and stronger relationships. I can’t guarantee that. But if you put in the time and effort, you can strengthen your relationships with others even when you disagree. You will always disagree with somebody—whether it’s your parent, sibling, spouse, child, boss, friend, neighbor, or fellow church member. Disagreements arise simply because we are all unique.

Last year, my little sis and I started disagreeing about a lot of things (most of them silly and unimportant). But we fought and argued and tried to persuade each other to get our own way. We had to learn to give in to the other’s wishes and make agreements.

Back to categorizing people…

I do it. A lot.

Here’s an example: Girls are not engineers. They’re teachers and writers and homemakers. However, I’ve met girls who would make great engineers, and I shouldn’t be surprised. Like I said, people don’t fit perfectly into certain categories; therefore we shouldn’t even try to categorize them.

People aren’t always going to like what I like. They’re not always going to behave like I think they should behave. Their likes and dislikes and behaviors and words may be different than mine, but they’re not wrong; and I should let it go.

Where am I going with all this?

I don’t know exactly.

I’ve simply realized how much I try to categorize people. I stereotype the cheerleaders as flirty and the artsy kids as weird.

Maybe that’s my point. Maybe my point is that I should stop expecting people to be a certain way and do what I think they should do.

It’s part of my pride. I like people who are like me.  I think the phrase “opposites attract” isn’t usually true. Things bother me that don’t bother other people. I get annoyed by the jokes others find hilarious; and I find jokes hilarious that others find annoying.

But it’s important to roll with the flow of other people and NOT TO GET A BIG HEAD. Your rules aren’t necessarily right. If your only set of standards is the Bible, then your rules are definitely right. But if you throw in a few extra guidelines like, “I don’t think kids under the age of sixteen should have cell phones” then it’s simply your opinion. Not that it’s wrong or weird. But it’s simply an opinion—like the billions of other opinions people have. It’s important not to judge someone as a bad parent if they let their kids have cell phones before they turn sixteen.

Take a look at this passage (and ignore the fact that it’s extremely long):

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body.

 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-26, 29-30).

Overview: Don’t get upset if you don’t get the spiritual gift you wanted. Sorry, but you don’t get to pick it. Be pleased with what you have, work hard to use it for God’s glory, and live in peace with other believers.

But there’s another side to this passage.

Notice verse 21: And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

We can’t tell someone that they don’t matter…and we can’t tell them their opinions don’t matter. If we all looked and acted and thought the same, there would be no diversity. Life would be boring.

Christians are all part of God’s family. You can’t be the one and only member. For the body is not one member, but many (verse 14).  If they were all one member, where would the body be? (verse 19).

WE CAN’T STEAL THE SHOW.

We can’t control the church or our friends or our families. We simply can’t. There will be disagreements.

Our main agreement needs to be this:  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

And…

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said… (Matthew 28:5-6).

Christ died for us and rose again. We don’t deserve our salvation, and we can’t earn it.

This is a hard fact for many to realize, but this is the huge truth that we all need to agree on.

Even though I tend to categorize people and sometimes disagree with them, I need to remember that I am not the standard. I am not better than anyone else, and my opinions are not more important.

We simply need to agree that the Bible is God’s Word and is the only real truth. The little disagreements about whether Haley should have a cell phone at age 12 or 16 doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

Conflict happens. But let’s not start pointless squabbles about things that don’t truly matter. Let’s focus on the fact that we as Christians need to give God glory in everything—even with our opinions.

I am not always right.

But my Savior is.

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