The Truth About Diversity

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 14, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

We live in a current society where acceptance of diversity is a goal that is never satisfied. What began decades ago as a much-needed movement regarding persons of a different race, nationality, or gender has evolved into the majority being forced to accept the lifestyle choices of the minority, even under threat of fine or imprisonment at times. As I read that quote above by Dr. King, I was struck by how far apart we are now from what he clearly intended. In our society, we are being practically forced to believe that diversity is accepting every person’s “individuality.” Yet, Dr. King says that each person must look beyond his own individual feelings and desires and consider what is best for the common good.

I am certainly not saying that God hasn’t created each person on this earth with some uniqueness. Of course he has! He created males and females differently so they could compliment each other physically, mentally, and emotionally. Then, King David states in Psalm 139:13-14 that God “knits (us) together in (our) mother’s wombs” and that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made." Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples of ALL nations” (Matthew 28:19 [caps mine]). And the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:10, “Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning." Biblical evidence clearly shows that God had at least some diversity in mind when he created us. But what is the purpose of that diversity? While many today believe each person should chase after whatever makes him feel good, God’s Word suggests that our differences are meant for us to worship him and serve others.

This week’s passage is Romans 12:3-8. In my New International Version Bible, the heading for this section is “Humble Service in the Body of Christ." Friends, let me just say that with acceptance of diversity must also come HUMILITY. Those who are pushing for diversity cannot be arrogant, for if you want others to accept your differences, you must also be willing to accept theirs. Paul puts it very simply: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (v. 3). He then compares the body of Christ to the human physical body which requires many DIFFERENT working parts in order to fulfill its purpose. He says that even though there are many members who are different, they form just one body (v. 5). His next words in that verse are something most of us probably don’t think about: “Each member belongs to all the others” (v. 5). Think about that. As much as we champion the causes of diversity and individuality, at the end of the day, we still have a RESPONSIBILITY to other members of the body of Christ (the Church). We must look out for their needs and interests ahead of our own, and we worship God by serving each other.

Paul explains in the rest of the section that our true diversity is shown not in our gender, race, nationality, or any other physical characteristic, but in our gifts that came from the Lord according to his grace. The gifts of prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and showing mercy are mentioned, but there are many more. If you are reading this, God has created you with certain talents and abilities that are unique to YOU. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and also live with him as your Lord, you have also been given specific spiritual gifts that are unique to you according to the grace you’ve been given. God cares about you so much that he would want to bless you in specific ways and allow you to be a crucial part of the body of believers that will carry his message of redemption to the world. THAT is something to celebrate!

We can and should celebrate our diversity within the body of Christ. We should be grateful for each other and should honor each and every member of the body because God has given each a part in fulfilling his plan to take the gospel to the whole world. But we must keep in mind that our differences are still in submission to God’s truth, since HE is the one who created those differences. This means that in the church, we cannot celebrate the “diversity” that we have created on our own by going against what he has created. Yes, I’m talking about homosexuality and gender modification. But that’s not all. We are not to celebrate preachers who teach things contrary to God’s Word. We cannot celebrate pornography or foul language in the name of “art” or “freedom of expression." Remember that while all of these things establish “diversity” according to the variety of feelings and opinions that come with them, they were not created by God and are not the “gifts” that Paul is talking about in Romans 12:3-8.

Maybe the two most important words of the passage are “in Christ” in verse 5. If our differences are not surrendered to his authority and truth, then they are not to be celebrated. True diversity, however, reveals the joy in knowing Christ and in letting him teach us how to use our gifts, which may often have to do with our race, culture, upbringing, nationality, and gender, to worship him and serve others. Just as the church today is pressured to accept things contrary to God’s Word in the name of “diversity,” there are also many who fail to accept things that are consistent with God’s Word, such as worship styles that might make them uncomfortable. I encourage every one of you who reads this to heed Paul’s words to “think of yourself with sober judgment." Encourage and celebrate one another in the ways of worshiping and serving the Lord. Put your individual concerns aside and use your God-given diversity for the common purpose of doing his will.

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