Rodney King’s 1991 beating by law enforcement officers, caught on videotape, led to acquitted defendants and fatal riots in Los Angeles. As King cried out from his hospital room, “Why can’t we all just get along?” our desperate nation was paralyzed with fear, wondering whether difficult relationships are always doomed to failure.
“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”
Rodney King, May 1, 1992, after the acquittal of Los Angeles police in his beating trial sparked widespread rioting.
Perhaps you’ve felt a similar desperation as you strive to get along with your staff, your team, your spouse, or your family.
Understanding the differences between people is a mystery, but one God helps us to solve. He plays a special role in solving the mystery. So do we.
God’s role: God provides truth and evidence for us to uncover in order to solve the mystery of differences.
Our role: We can examine the evidence and truth of God’s word carefully and act on them as we work to solve the mystery of differences.
Evidence and truth is a common denominator that we share with God in solving the mystery: He provides it, we examine it. Check out the preliminary evidence God reveals to us in the mystery of differences.
TRUTH #1: God designed us to be different from each other
There’s no question that God intentionally designed people differently. “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?” says 1 Corinthians 12:17. “If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” We’re not supposed to be the same! Further, God only creates good things – and there is great value in our differences.
TRUTH #2: God designed our differences to complete one another
Although the human body is one organism, 1 Corinthians 12 explains further, it is made up of many parts. Each part has a vital function. It is no less a part of the body because it is different from another. So it is with the body of Christ and each of us.
TRUTH #3: God’s design is for our differences to unite us
It’s inconceivable that God would create so many different kinds of people, styles, and
approaches to dealing with issues and not provide a way for them to work together. Yet we can let differences divide us – if we do not understand God’s plan. God’s plan for differences calls us to a place of oneness through humility, gentleness, patience and love for each other’s uniqueness (Ephesians 4:1-5). He wants us to be at peace with each other since we are all members of His body.
TRUTH #4: God made us different so we might mature
We did not earn our gifts, nor do we deserve them. Our gifts are a God-given means to build up His body. In using our gifts, we help others grow – which leads to another amazing outcome: we become more mature (Ephesians 4:13).
“Can’t we all just get along?” The answer is a resounding yes. Not only is getting along possible, it is how Christ said the world would know Him. “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).
We are all different – by God’s design.
The body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:14, NIV)
- “God wants us to get along with others.” Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
- Consider how God may want to work in a fractured relationship or one you have thought is beyond repair.
- What is the next step you can take to help others in your sphere understand the mystery of differences?