One cold day I was driving through the campus area in our town. As I was tied up in traffic, I started to people watch. I saw a person all bundled up for the cold weather. The person was faced away from me, but the style of coat they wore, I perceived that it was a woman. The hood of her coat was drawn up over her head and she was wearing what looked like warm gloves and comfortable shoes. She was appropriately dressed for the cold weather.
I wondered, where is she from, does she attend college, and is she from another country? I thought about how she walked and what that could tell me about her, such as age, race, etc. Why though? Why did I need to know those things about her? The truth is, I didn’t need to know anything about this person. My mind automatically tried to analyze more than what was on the surface. Why? I don’t know, accept that I’ve been taught, or programmed by society to do so. Yet, I don’t want to do that!
I thought, “what if we all wore coats all of the time“? If we all wore something that covered our skin, or hid anything that would show that we are different. We could wear any style, color or combination of colors and designs. How would we treat each other then? We wouldn’t be able to tell the color of each other’s skin. Everyone’s “skin” would be different. There would be thousands of combinations and designs. There wouldn’t be just black and white. How would we treat each other under those conditions?
Somehow, we must stop profiling and categorizing people based on skin color, ethnicity, or anything that makes us different.
The lady in the coat was never identifiable, to me, as any color, ethnicity, age, or gender. I never saw her face or skin. This frustrated me because I couldn’t put her in a category. Do we all try to categorize people? I admit this is wrong but how do I get past this? How do I change the way my brain has been programmed?
God, our Heavenly Father, has the answer to this problem.
Romans 12:2 (NASB)
” And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
A person who is black or white cannot change their color. A person with big ears, short fingers, blue, or brown eyes cannot change those features. People are born the way they are, they did not ask to be a certain color, height, or nationality. A person who has hundreds of tattoos most likely are not going to get them all removed even if they come to a point of hating them. Why hate a person for something that they can’t change? Why hate a person at all for any reason? I wonder if these differences scare us therefore, we try to find people who are similar so that we don’t feel odd.
Acts 17:24-28 (NKJV)
“24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”
Philippians 2:3-4 (NASB)
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
I realize that you can’t ignore the differences in people or pretend that they’re not different. Make the differences matter. Enjoy each person that is different from you; it would be a boring world if we were all just like you or me!
Have you considered what’s deep in your mind and heart regarding people being different? Let God change your heart and mind; let Him renew your mind with His word and the Holy Spirit! Pray and ask God to change your heart and mind to see people as He sees them.