A friend came to hear me sing at an event a few summers ago. During a break, she made a thoughtful observation. “It’s very Caucasian here,” she said. She meant, of course, that nearly everyone in the crowd was white, like me.
Her comments caused me to be more observant of the people around me. What I have noticed is something I think is true for most of us. We tend to hang around people who look like us. As an elementary school teacher, I’ve even seen how children naturally gravitate toward other children on the playground who come from the same ethnic background as they do.
Adults and children alike are most comfortable being around those with whom they can identify. While there is nothing wrong with that, the danger comes when we surround ourselves all day, every day, with people who think like us. We might begin to believe that our way of thinking is the only right way of thinking. It can breed intolerance toward others.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy in this phenomenon is that our churches are no different. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in an interview in 1960, “Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in American Christianity.” Almost 60 years later, that’s still true.
It’s easy to make friends with someone who talks and looks like us. But in a world where differences of opinion are often criticized, maybe we Christians can make more of an effort to befriend someone different from us.
Lord, help me be more deliberate about spending time with someone who looks and thinks differently than I do. Guide me to listen to understand before sharing my opinions. Amen.
Go Deeper — Began to pray about how you can learn from those around you.
Read Further — Read the book or watch the movie Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent. It’s the story of a family who began to invest in the lives of people who were different from them.
Photo Credit: Gift Habeshaw