Anyone who has read my posts often or long enough may have seen me write before that we are not controlled by truth, but rather what we perceive to be truth. What is the truth you perceive about diversity?
People are diverse. We have diverse looks and needs, cultures, beliefs, and traditions, opinions and perspectives. We have diverse histories and families. All combined make us who we are, and all of these God celebrates. He uses each to our advantage and He absolutely loves what is uniquely us.
Today “diversity and inclusion” is a coin phrase, but often when you hear this, inclusion only happens when the diverse among the group conform to the whole group’s way of thinking. Does inclusion require conformity? No. Does diversity therefore exclude unity. No! As a matter of fact, unity celebrates diversity because diversity is required for unity to happen.
It’s kind of like a complex piece of fine machinery that has a multitude of both small and great unique, individual pieces where every single one is required to make the machine run smoothly. If even one were missing, the machine as a whole would suffer. And if all were the same, none could make up the whole. Know this, we are far more complex than mere machinery!
Maybe you are thinking that there’s no real significant difference between unity and conformity, and so are wondering what is my point? Okay, let’s take a quick look at each word.
Conformity: action in accordance with prevailing standards, attitudes, practices of a society or group. To be or become similar in form, nature, character.
Unity: the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification. A whole or totality as combining all its parts into one. Oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.
Conformity does not give one the choice to agree, it forces you to agree. Unity (of people as opposed to machines) is always based on one’s free choice. Unity doesn’t require us to melt into one history, one truth, one culture, one perspective, and so on. Rather, it offers us the freedom of choice to submit to or come under the leadership of the whole, in order to accomplish a specific goal or purpose. Submission to the leadership of Jesus the Messiah, our God and Creator, for example, in partnership with Him to accomplish His purposes on the earth. This is something Satan himself would never choose freely to do. He does not submit to the leadership of God, and at the same time he demands the conformity of all his followers.
Am I splitting hairs? No, because a willing submission allows for and takes into account the uniqueness of each individual. Conformity imposes a standard which requires that I give up my uniqueness. So I say we celebrate what makes us unique! It is our uniqueness that enables us to see our destiny and calling, and how we fit into His overall plan.
How can we all get aligned in unity? Those who abide in Christ are already in unity simply because we are organically part of His body. Through a yielded heart, the longer we walk this journey together with Him, the more like-minded we become – not only with Him but also with one another.