We gravitate to people who are just like us – people who enjoy the same activities, share similar tastes, are close in age, come from the same country, have the same beliefs. Human nature is to surround ourselves with like-minded people, lessening the chance of conflict.
Because, really, who likes conflict?
But . . . (you knew there was going to be a “but”, didn’t you?) . . . surrounding yourself with other yous tends to create an atmosphere that can become shallow and predictable. While it’s comfortable to be around those who have similar thought patterns and familiar perspectives, you do yourself a great injustice by excluding people who are not like you.
We need each other to grow. We need people in our lives who think differently, solve problems differently, produce different ideas – people who challenge us. Assembling a diverse group of friends and acquaintances keeps us alert, seeking, and finding.
Let’s throw this into a church environment.
Every single congregation I’ve ever been involved with has been the same in this regard. Small groups of like-minded people huddle together in the larger church setting, seldom mixing with other groups who might be of a different age, culture, or social class. And then there are always individuals on the edges longing for an invitation to join one of these cliques.
This happens everywhere. But is it right? Nope. Is it helpful to our mental and spiritual growth? Nope. Is it an example of the body of Christ working together? Nope. Is it God’s best for us? Absolutely nope!
Next time you’re out among people, look past the other yous and see:
- Someone who is not like you might just have the solution to a difficult problem you are dealing with.
- Someone who is not like you may have insight in an area where you are struggling.
- Someone who is not like you may share an unexpected revelation to a passage of Scripture you’ve wondered about.
- Someone who is not like you might have an idea that you absolutely love.
Surrounding yourself with other yous is okay – sometimes – but it will often be the not-like-yous who make the difference in your life.
Think about that.