Free To Be: Differences Define Us

Free-To-Be
Photo by: Charlie f

There is a beautiful uniqueness and complexity to every individual person. In addition to the intricate designs that distinguish outward appearances, the personalities and interests of different people set them apart to fulfill different purposes in the world. A person’s differences should be respected, and their uniqueness should be valued. But much too often, people criticize others for their differences and exclude them just because they may not function exactly the way they themselves do. People may be different, but if they were to change themselves and be what other people say they should be instead, they would not be serving the purpose that they are meant to serve.

In Romans 12:3-6, Paul says to the people in Rome, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…”

People may be different, but if they were to change themselves and be what other people say they should be instead, they would not be serving the purpose that they are meant to serve.

In this world, there are a huge variety of purposes that need to be fulfilled, and God has created each person with different functions, equipping them with the “gifts” needed to fulfill those purposes. These gifts should not be suppressed or looked down upon in any way, but they should be developed and “exercised accordingly.”

There are many ways in which it can be difficult at college to have this mindset. Often times, students tend to put each other on different levels depending on the college degrees they choose to pursue. But God has given each person a different calling, and no one should be judged for the degree he chooses. For example, the one who pursues a degree that will benefit him with more income down the road shouldn’t necessarily be judged by anyone as greedy or arrogant. No one can assume that he wants all the money for himself. He could be a very generous person. If he is pursuing a job that he feels called to pursue, he should feel free to pursue it. Likewise, the one who pursues a degree that may not lead to a high-paying job shouldn’t be looked down upon either. If he is being called to do it, he should be encouraged, not condemned. The two people each have a different purpose to fulfill.

It can also be difficult for college students to accept each other for their different personalities and temperaments. It is easy to criticize a person for being different and for doing things differently. However, a person’s way of doing things is not something to be judged. As long as there is nothing obviously wrong with that person’s way, it should not be condemned.

It is easy to criticize a person for being different and for doing things differently.

For example, an extroverted person usually enjoys group settings and thrives on being around people. He is more of a socializer and may prefer studying with other people rather than studying alone. Extroverts are probably more likely to enjoy public speaking. An introvert, although he may love people, is usually quieter and thrives more on the time he spends alone. He may often feel anxious around a lot of people and can easily feel exhausted after socializing. He usually needs to go spend time alone in order to calm down and recharge. This kind of person probably prefers studying alone rather than in groups, and is more likely to enjoy communicating through writing. Extroverts and introverts are different because they are just made to function differently. They have different ways that they need to do certain things. Neither type of person should feel pressure to be more like the other one. God had a purpose, and He found great enjoyment in creating each of them exactly like they are.

Romans 12:3-6 is a great reminder for people that the differences between them are not objects of criticism or judgment. Aside from their sin, people should not only accept each other the way they are, but they should also accept themselves. They just need to make sure they don’t think too highly of themselves for the gifts and talents God gave them. God deserves all the glory as Creator, and He is best glorified when His creation is free to be the way He made it.

Leave a Reply