A big deal is made about diversity these days. We are told, especially at college, but increasingly elsewhere nowadays that we are to accept and celebrate people and lifestyles that are different from ours. We must be loving, accepting, open-minded and tolerant of gay and transgender people so that they may be at ease with themselves. We must give preferential treatment to groups such as blacks,Hispanics and women who have been “oppressed” and denied rights. This diversity, however, is rooted deeply in sin and defies God’s laws wherever it is practiced. These alternate lifestyles may seem to meet with man’s approval but result in physical and spiritual death. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). There is however positive diversity on this earth. Geography has been a long time favorite subject of mine. There are many different countries in the world, around 200 or so in fact. The way we live here in the United States is significantly different than the way people live in Mexico, Japan, or India. Everyone speaks different languages and practices different customs. Some of these customs are based in idolatry and when we travel abroad we must be aware of this, but nevertheless these practices illustrate the point that countries are different in every way. There are different climates, types of food and many other things we could say in this regard, but geography is not the only area where diversity is illustrated in a largely positive way. Biology, for instance, involves the study of plant and animal life. God has given these plants and animals a unique ability to adapt to their environment via camouflage, exceptional hearing or sight, or bodies that protect them from the extreme heat and cold found in their habitats. The main kind of diversity, however, is found in the church. All of God’s people are different. Not just physically different with some being taller or shorter than another, but with different spiritual gifts as well. Some can preach, others can speak different languages and use that ability to translate church materials into these languages for the purpose of evangelism. Others can sing on pitch and enjoy singing spiritually edifying songs in a choir. Others, who might not have that ability, might work in construction and serve on the church building committee. All of these members should show concern for each other and dwell in unity. 1 Corinthians 12:25 states it this way “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” This does not mean that there will be perfect unity all the time and that we will never sin against each other, but it does mean that we should seek forgiveness from each other when this does happen. This whole chapter states that not everyone has the same spiritual gifts, but it also states that every member of the church is necessary. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). When we are aware of what true diversity means, and what kind of diversity we are to embrace, we can rest assured that God knows what is best for us and gives us the gifts and talents we possess and are called to use in and for the benefit of the church.
Kevin Rau