I realized after moving out of my childhood home that it can be really easy to start thinking in terms of a singular perspective. We have certain paradigms that we grow up with that aren't always going to be the same for everyone, and I just recently became fully aware of this idea while talking to a coworker/friend.
We had been talking about our lives growing up, and we soon both came to realize we had been raised in completely different environments. It was a good conversation with stories of childhood foolishness, good family times, and of course food. The conversation ended with my coworker jokingly saying I was just a "rich kid". I have never wanted to be completely broke financially until that moment in my life.
It wasn’t said in any demeaning way. It was simply said to show I had just been more blessed and privileged than he was. It made me think of how much we oftentimes disregard people because they aren't the same as us, how we think less of someone just because of their situation they are in that we have no understanding of. We put people at different levels of importance to us and our lives. Either one of us could have given the cold shoulder, but instead we simply didn’t care about where we came from. We both instead decided to value the fellowship and community we had with one another.
It's become clear to me from this situation and the last couple months, just how important love is. How important it is to just listen to other people speak for a minute and gain a new perspective. Just listen to their story. Its important to make friends with the community of people around you; that’s what makes it a community. We are all people, we all have problems, and we all need one another. There isn't one person who is better than the other, I mean I feel like I am repeating myself, but how many times do you put yourself above the various people around you? It's a big problem in our culture to try and make ourselves the center. To make what we are and have done seem like the best or the only way to do it, when there is actually no 'set' way. We are so narrow minded and don't put down our defenses long enough to gain a new perspective. I find myself doing this a lot with certain societal issues that I've had opinions about for a long time. But that’s just the problem, a lot of what we think to be the right way are just opinions we've decided to build our lives on. That is why I believe it is hard for people to actually listen sometimes.
Romans 12:9-10 says, "Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other."
Jesus stressed love so much in his ministry. Its sometimes hard for me to look around at fellow brothers and sisters and not see love being demonstrated the way that it should be. Paul talks about love in Corinthians and says it is so many things, but I think it's important to just remember love has to start with us, by making the choice to love people and seeing it as an opportunity and not a nuisance.