Beauty in Diversity
I was in a store recently and saw this slogan on a coffee mug, “Beauty has no skin tone.” I immediately thought, “Well, that’s a lie!” I had to check myself and make sure I didn’t actually say it out loud. While I understand the sentiment, the motivation, or possibly the political correctness behind the slogan, if it is about outward beauty, it’s simply not true. Of course the beauty of one’s heart and spirit really does not have skin tone, but when I look at my diverse friends, I see the beauty in their rich brown skin tone, creamy fair skin tone, tan-like and caramel skin tone, freckled skin, and even wrinkled skin.
Lets celebrate the beauty of diversity! Can you imagine a garden with only yellow flowers? Hmmm...is it really only yellow? Think of the tulip fields of Denmark. Row upon row of yellow tulips. Some of the fields are a stunning rainbow of tulips but if you happen upon a field of all yellow flowers, that sea of yellow is contrasted against green leaves and blue skies. The beauty and contrasts of God’s creation can take our breath away.
“…The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
However beautiful all these created things are, I believe the most sublime of God’s creation is humans. Short ones, tall ones, thin or thick, white ones, black ones, and every skin tone in between. God made us! He didn’t just make us like He made everything else, but according to Genesis 1:26, He created us in His image and likeness. That’s hard to fathom, especially, when we get that first look in the mirror each morning, right? Look again. Ask God to reveal to you how you carry His image. Lean in, listen, and embrace what you see and hear.
This isn’t just about the person in the mirror though. You know that neighbor who is the polar opposite politically, the co-worker who denies God exists, or the relative who is mean-spirited? They were created in God’s image too. They may not be reflecting that image but let’s be real, too often you and I don’t reflect Him as well as we could! Have you ever seen a fellow believer acting out in such a way that you just want to go remove their “Love Jesus” bumper sticker and ask them not to advertise their Christianity. Maybe that’s been you…or me. Maybe we think, “I have been losing my temper, gossiping, or acting mean. Maybe I’ll just keep my believer status on the down low until I get it together.” We’ve all been there at some point, but those folks I mentioned, the neighbor, co-worker, or relative may not even know they bear the image of God. Nonetheless, you know they do, so now you are responsible for that information. This means you and I have to look past our differences and see the image and likeness of God in them. We have to look past their flaws, sins, and politics and see that God has plans and desires for them. Pray into those plans.
It is often easier for us to celebrate the beauty in diversity with people who LOOK different than us than it is to celebrate diversity in those who THINK differently than us. I won’t celebrate thoughts that are contrary to Biblical truth, but I can still look for the image of God in a person and treat them with respect. Maybe being confronted with opposing views will make me dig deeper into why I believe what I do. If that’s the case then I can celebrate the diversity of points of view that help me see more clearly.
We are all here together on this Earth. There is a lot to be angry about in our current political and economic world. I won’t diminish the intensity of that. Still, to make it through this age we live in, first we need God, and second we need each other. The “each others” that we love and enjoy, AND the “each others” that anger or frustrate us.
Seek God first, but then look for the image of God in everyone you meet. Pray for His plan to come to pass in their lives, that they would come to know the truth, and that you would reflect His image to them. The beauty of God is built into humanity and there is such beauty in diversity.