COLUMN: Different is OKPublished 3:00pm Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Different is defined as not being the same as another thing, even to the point of being distinct, to include partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality; not ordinary or common; not the same.
Therefore, being different is not necessarily a bad thing, nor is it a standard by which we should judge other people. After all, God has created us all in His image.
This past weekend I was able to be included in another “Discovery Weekend” at Hartselle First Methodist. The theme this year was “Different.” There were over 100 youth from sixth grade all the way up through seniors in high school, and even several college students came in to be a part of this weekend retreat.
The weekend included all types of activities, being designed to bring the youth closer to God and to help them as they make choices, which can and will affect the rest of their lives. The different aspect is brought into the equation by learning to accept others, even though they look, dress, talk, think and even act in a way that seems contrary to how others may think they should. Our problem sometimes comes into play when we judge others just because they are different and treat them in an unfriendly manner instead of loving them.
One thing that impressed me was how so many of our young people are able to be much more accepting than we adults are. Even though there are many personalities that abound around them, they are willing to accept others as friends, even when they are “different.” Also, many are willing to be who they are, even to the point that sometimes they suffer consequences for this. Whether it is in how they choose to dress, not always competing in sports, subjects they may enjoy in school and even how they choose to worship. For me I have a long way to go to reach this point, but I had good teachers in the young folks this year.
After all, we along with all of our differences, make up the church, which is the body of Christ, here on earth. Each one of us have characteristics that make us unique, but we all also have gifts that we have been given that help grow the kingdom as well as help others to know and experience the peace that we have found through our faith.
John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world (meaning all of His children) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Randy Garrison is the president and publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer.