Meet Esther. She’s an awesome God-fearing girl that loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to show it. Esther was raised in a Christian home, and growing up she adopted the beliefs of her parents. They screwed their noses up at homosexuals, distanced themselves from any other religion, and criticised people with tattoos. They did a lot of great things for people too, but always for the cause of conversion.
Esther went to University and immediately made friends with other Christian girls who agreed with her way of life. They supported each other in their walk with Christ and they mixed with others occasionally, but usually because they had to. Esther found it uncomfortable being around people that swore a lot, dressed promiscuously or drank a lot of alcohol. She was disconnected from the world.
Now, let me introduce you to Sophie, who is also a God-loving girl. She had much of the same upbringing as Esther; strict parents with firm beliefs. But that’s where the similarities end. Sophie chose to go to University in a City that was known for it’s diversity. She lived in halls, and on the first day she learned her roommate was a staunch Muslim. This was a shock and she wasn’t sure how to respond. Sophie had never been close with someone who’s life was so different to her. But she opened her mind, and determined that despite their obvious differences, she would make an effort to be friends with her new room mate.
Who will have more impact in her world and sphere of infuence? Whose walk with Christ will be seen more, just from her way of life?
In all of our diversity and multi-culture, each person in the world has one thing in common: we all have a world-view made up of opinions and beliefs. Some of us are more convinced and assured than others, but we all stand somewhere. As Christians we are to be in the world, but not of the world. So yes, we need to be careful who we mix with. We need to watch who sets the temperature in our lives. Are you surrounded by people who make good decisions and encourage you to as well? You should be, because iron sharpens iron.
However that doesn’t mean you cut off everyone else. Which is tempting to do. Obviously it’s easier to hang out with people that see things exactly the way you do. Me? I can strongly relate with Esther. I find it hard to be around people whose life choices, outlook and attitude greatly contrast mine. But that’s just my pride talking, because really the issue is that I don’t like being questioned or disagreed with. I want to have it all together and when people ask hard questions or challenge me, my weakness is revealed. And my pride is hurt.
I’m really confronting my tendency to be narrow-minded, because I don’t believe I will have much success in being a light to my world if I don’t. My prayer is that I would be humbled and open my mind, because there really is something to learn from everyone. Each and every person has a story and is on a journey, and they’re learning too. The pace may be different, their teachers may not be the same as yours, but they still know a thing or two.
When I moved to London all of my friends were from church, which was important for me in the delicate and immature stage I was in. I still spend a lot of my time with friends from church, but I don’t want to live in a safe Christian bubble any more. I want to be surrounded by people from all walks of life, from all over the world. And London is a thriving hub of multi-culture, so it’s the perfect place to start.
Everyone is a brother or sister in Christ, no matter of race, religion or political position. So let’s swallow our pride and opinions for a minute, and get out of our comfort zones a little in our social lives.
Do you struggle to mix with people that are very different to you? Or do you enjoy debates and discussions? Leave a comment.