Some things have recently made me think about aspects of human nature. It's sad really how the sin that is a part of us even after we are saved can influence us to be unkind to those that are different than we are.
I've come to the realization that different is not a bad thing. As a child, I was emotional, so I got the reputation for crying a lot. I struggled with worry and perfectionism toward myself, and I got the reputation as the teacher's pet. I rarely got in trouble, and I hardly ever got angry. I would get sad. People picked on me because I was different. I worked hard in school. I got good grades. I was often the Citizen of the year in my class. I won awards in art. I was proud of that. I graduated with honors. Yet, I got picked on.
Fast forward 16 years. I have a 5 year old. He is amazing. He is artistic, intelligent, sensitive. He is not as fast as some kids his age, but he ran about 3 miles in an hour and walked another mile besides. He has endurance. Unfortunately, it's human nature not to focus on that. He gets teased sometimes for not being fast. Yet, he has all these wonderful traits and on top of that - he can run forever. It's our sinful nature that causes us to pick the one thing that we are better at than someone else and pick at it.
As an adult, I see the same tendency. It's not as obvious. It's actually pretty subtle. I meet people, I am excited and talk to them, but then I have the tendency to back off. It's probably the fact that my natural personality is an introvert even though I work on it. I find that wherever I am, I make a couple of good friends, and others are on just a hello basis. I find that I'm not the type of person that people go after as a friend. They are not eager to find out about me and who I am. It's human nature again. If we are a certain way, then we tend to be drawn to people that are like us. I have to work hard to get friends, and sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it if that is the way it is.
It's hard to be different, but it's important for us to remember that each of us are different. I know the importance of showing yourself friendly to get friends. At this time in my life, sometimes that's hard. With two kids - one with special needs, I say "no" a lot. Maybe sometimes too much. Then there are times when I can do things, and maybe there's nothing to do. The ups and downs of life are hard, but we need to keep in mind the lessons in them.
God made each of us, and each of us have a gift that someone else needs. That is not to say that we should go around saying, "you need me, so be my friend." That would be a little odd. Take the time though to see the people around you. Where are they at in life? How can I be their friend. They might have a different personality than you do, but nothing makes us into a well-rounded person than to get to know people who are different than us. Sometimes it takes work, and sometimes it might not feel like it's worth it, because it might not be as fun as hanging out with the people who are just like you.
Kids today call it bullying when someone is picked on for being different. As adults, sometimes we do the same thing, but we avoid giving it a name. Let's love one another as Christ loved us. That means even with our differences, sin problems, etc. That's the way he loved us and died for us to show that love. He spent time with the outsiders and those who didn't have a friend in the world. May we be the same way.