On the back of every coin are the Latin words e pluribus unum which means “one from many.” America was established upon the realization that our differences would define our strength as a nation, and contribute to us being more fully one.
But let’s be honest…today we have a huge lack of appreciation of our differences. It’s easy to hide within so-called communities of sameness online. The reality is that we all cannot believe the same way or even the same things. Sameness and similarity do not enhance people’s ability to come together.
Actually, we get along best when we interact and rely on each other. I am much more likely to get to know you, appreciate you, and even befriend you when I’m sweating alongside you for a common goal.
I may even learn from you and appreciate things I would never be confronted with unless I heard your voice, listened to what you said, and sensed the hope in your soul, which sounds a lot like my heart and soul.
There is no adequate substitute for looking into your eyes to see the eternity in your soul and to hear the heartbeat of your dream. You can’t get that opportunity in an online “community” or in believing like everyone else.
Being a Christ-follower is all about finding that common ground with everyone, especially those who are different from us.
Jesus did that exceptionally well.
The Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of John is a good case in point. The powerful thing about this story is that Jesus went out of his way to find someone whom society said he should avoid or disregard. The principle here is that when we go out of our way to be with people UNLIKE us, they will go out of their way to tell people ABOUT us!
The most famous passage in all of Scripture may be John 3:16, which speaks of God’s love for man by sending his Son to die for us. The next verse says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (3:17 NIV).
We see that exhibited plainly in his dealings with the woman at the well. He chose to intersect with her to show her God’s love and reorient her focus, which was clouded by the religious thinking she was accustomed to.
So, let’s find common ground with people who may be very different from us politically, racially, or generationally. They are really much the same as us in so many other ways. It just takes some time to look for the commonality between us. That’s called communication. And when communication happens, our role as defined in 2 Corinthians 5:18–20 will jump out at us: we are to reestablish friendship between others and God and act as his ambassadors.