Imagine for a second a child saying “Ewww,” to something they see on the plate in front of them. Can’t you just see the scrunched up nose, the wrinkle between their eyes, and even them pushing back from the table a bit? I can. And I can also imagine many of us coaching our kids to try something new before they make a decision about it. Some of us even implement things like a “thank you bite” or “try it Tuesday,” to encourage their kids to expand their food horizons.
As an adult, you might not verbally say, “Eww,” to something on your plate, especially if you are the one who makes your own meals. Maybe you stick to what you know in the culinary realm, or maybe you embrace new flavors and cuisines with gusto.
But whereas our visible reaction to new foods may be less apparent, consider for a second your reaction to opinions, choices, or lifestyles that are different than what you are used to or would consider, “good.” Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t take much imagination to picture us scrunching up our noses or displaying our displeasure in other visible ways.
But what if instead of scrunching up our noses, we remembered the advice we give our kids to not judge something before we “taste” it. I’m not advocating that you have to immerse yourself into every new thing that comes along, but what if, before we started to think of what was wrong with an opinion or experience that was new/different, we took the time to listen to the other person’s point of view or accepted that we all have different preferences?
There’s always been the temptation to stick with what we know and hunker down into our own camps, but when we do that, we can start to forget that the variety that is present in the people around us is actually a gift from God.
Colossians 1:16-17 reminds us, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Maybe it’s just me, but to some extent I think we more readily celebrate diversity in the natural world more than we do in the people around us, especially those who don’t look, think, or act like we do. But when we only give someone value when they agree with us or look like us, we are actually doing ourselves a disservice; we end up cutting ourselves off from the opportunity to learn something new, and as such, grow as the person God has created and called us to be. We may also miss out on what God might be up to in, and through, that person.