Celebrating Unity Through Diversity

Published: 2021-06-17 16:10:04
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Category: Diversity

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Considering the amount of diversity that exists in our society today, it is imperative that we celebrate unity through diversity because we are one in Christ Jesus. Regardless of our individual differences, we can still promote unity through our diversity as long as we respect and value these differences. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. ” One of the best ways to utilize diversity as a way of endorsing unity is to seek first to understand than to be understood.
Solomon reminds us in Proverbs 4:7b, “With all thy getting, get understanding. ” Stephen Covey, in his seminal book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests that seeking first to understand is promoting empathy as a way of understanding other people’s situations. When we seek first to understand, we are demonstrating empathy toward another person’s perspective, feelings, and background. The only time that differences promote segregation is when people fail to value, respect, and understand others.
This apathetic attitude undermines any genuine efforts towards unity. Further dissention is caused by having an ethnocentric attitude, thinking that your ethnicity is better or superior to someone who is different from you. It is a natural tendency for people to think they are right and anyone who deviates from how they think or act must be incorrect. Although it is easier said than done, all of us must make conscious efforts to suspend judgment and resist the temptation to evaluate people by how they look until we get to know them. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
in his famous I Have A Dream speech stated, “I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. ” This quote solidifies something my mother told me when I was young, “Always get to know a person because you can’t tell a book by its cover! ” Another way to build bridges with someone with whom you are different is to follow these four simple practices that are easier said than done: 1) Suspend judgment, 2) Resist the temptation to evaluate, 3) Look for Christ in others, and 4) Love
outrageously! Celebrating unity through diversity means we can achieve unity by acknowledging and respecting the rich diversity that exists in our society today. The Latin term, E Pluribus Unum, is inscribed on the back of American coins. It means, “Out of Many, One. ” This phrase references the many cultures that have emerged in America through diversity, immigration, and citizenship. Although there are many different ethnicities and cultures in our nation, and most of us arrived in America on different boats, we are all in the same boat now!
This kind of unity dispels the myth that diversity means division. Diversity merely means differences. Paul explains in Ephesians 4:11-13 that there are different members in the body of Christ, however, all of them work together to build unity for the purpose of edifying and maturing the body of Christ. Theses differences are linked and orchestrated like different positions on a football team or different instruments in an orchestra. The parts individually cannot accomplish the goal, but when they all come together in harmony, a beautiful symphony is played or a victory on the gridiron is won!
There is strength in diversity because many aspects in life require different perspectives like problem solving or accomplishing a goal. When people with different points of views, ideas, backgrounds, experiences, strengths, talents, and abilities all come together to work toward a common goal, extraordinary things can be achieved. Once at a school assembly I suggested to students and teachers the following solutions for celebrating unity through diversity.
First, everyday we must do our best to authentically understand, accept, appreciate, and respect ourselves and others. It is difficult to respect or appreciate people unless you accept them as human beings. Blind Pop vocalist Stevie Wonder can see people better than most of us because he sees and gets to know people on the inside. Secondly, it is pertinent that we ask questions, listen, and dialogue with people who are different than us to increase our understanding of each other.
Regardless of what happens in society, each of us is personally responsible for treating others like we want to be treated. We are also responsible for genuinely doing our best to be good role models and exemplify positive character traits. As people who accept our own heritage, we need to demonstrate integrity, loyalty, responsibility, wisdom, hope, courage, and trustworthiness. As people who respect others, we need to learn how to show forgiveness, compassion, empathy, cooperation, fairness, and kindness.
We can’t change the past regardless of whether it was good or bad, but we can affect the future. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:13- 14, “But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ” Therefore, as we observe celebrations like Black History Month, it is imperative to recognize how such things as slavery, discrimination, bigotry, racism, sexism, and deprivation of civil rights are terrible.
However, regardless of your ethnicity, all of us are personally and collectively responsible for working to improve the present and the future. If we dwell on the past, we will miss all of the wonderful opportunities that are staring us in the face. Education is the key to success in fighting ignorance, poverty, racism, prejudice, and hopelessness. We must also educate ourselves to the rich cultures in our pluralistic society, which in turn can help us gain a better understanding of others.
Finally, when we dialogue and get to know each other we will realize we have more in common and are more alike than we are different. Therefore regardless of our ethnicity or culture we need to love and treat everyone with respect and dignity, value and affirm one another, and validate the fact that all of us are a part of the human race. Ask the Lord to help you see others through His eyes and to love them unconditionally through His love. I believe that the same way Jesus reached out to the woman at the well in Samaria, He will enable you to reach out to others in that same way.
As a reminder to celebrate unity through diversity, I recommend you recite this pledge I wrote in 1985 for my students, which I lead today with teachers, students, and conference participants regularly: “I will have a good day today, and no one can change that. I feel good about whom I am today, and no one can change that. I feel good about whom you are today, and no one can change that. I will do my best today to understand, accept, appreciate, and respect myself and others, and no one, no one, no one can change that! ”

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