i am Different…

alf

i am different to you.

My DNA is different; my fingerprints are different; my retina and iris patterns are different making what i see different to what you do.

My ears are different, i don’t hear the same sound you hear.

My tastebuds are not yours, we don’t like all the same foods.

My skin is not your skin, my experiences are not your experiences and my life is most definitely not like yours – we are completely different beings you and i – We are basically alone – a party of One: and in that we are identical to all other humans living on this small planet with us.

For while i am different to you, there are a number of ways in which we share a common ground, just as there are a myriad of ways we have learned to make ourselves different to each other.

Ways like race, creed, religion, country, language, city, sporting club association and even age groups – the so-called ‘generations’ like X and Y and ‘the Baby-Boomers’. (Those born after World War 2 but before the ‘free-love’ era of the mid 60’s).

We humans are so very good at finding ways to form a group we think we ‘belong’ in because of how we are so very alike, while at the same time ostracising all those who don’t ‘fit in’ who are not the same as us and who show it in ‘weird’ ways that we do not make much effort to understand or recognise as being in any way like (or as good) as ‘we’ are.

We’re so good at it we even do it within the larger ways we make to be in opposition to our fellow human beings (some of whom, if we are really determined to, we can see as not even worthy of the name – or the respect – of being called ‘human’ – and that is what i find truly sickening about ‘us’) we become groups within groups – Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Non-Denominational, Unitarian, Anglican ‘Christians’ in the grouping we have all made called ‘religion’, for one typical example.

Most of us tend to equate ‘different’ ( as in they are different to us) with inferior – after all if their ‘way’ was superior to ours we’d choose to be one of ‘them’ – right? None of us would intentionally choose to be inferior to another group of humans if it was within our power to change – make a change for the better – so clearly since we have not changed (or have changed ‘into’ the group we now associate with most) we are the best we think we can be in our present level of understandings.

Now i am not stupid enough to believe that all of us actually think that about ourselves – perhaps not even about those ‘others’Β  – but in reality this is what is going on at some level somewhere down in the rather murky depths of our sub-conscious.

You know – the places where we dare not shine a light too brightly for fear of what we will see in there staring wild-eyed back at us. The dark recesses of our inner being where fear and insecurity lie as we try to push it’s ugly little head away from the eyes of our friends – the ones in our group with whom we so desperately want to belong and are afraid that if they ever see that creature inside of us they will despise us forever and we will be cast into the pit of lonely hell on our own – with no-one but old mad wild-eyes for companionship. (and maybe Hitler and Osama when he croaks it)?

The fact that all of those in our group are doing much the same thing never quite seems to register with us – or only very infrequently when we gain a sudden flash of insight – which is often then suppressed and forgotten about because really – we have no idea of how to deal with what we then see or know – about them, about ‘us’ and about ‘me’.

about how different i am (we are) to what i wish i was (we were).

if the mood strikes me, and if He wills it – i might just write another post about one way we can learn how to deal with the difference… a way of Hope.

But maybe most of my readers know of it already so what would be the point?

(and yes – if any are interested – it’s been one of ‘those’ days… months even?)

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “i am Different…

  1. Hi Love! Good one! I like this post. Why do you think we like to make groups out of those who are like us? I think it is fear maybe, of those who are not like us (makes us uncomfortable) and pride, like you said- we feel superior, maybe we think our way is better, and we have arrived:) Whatever it is, I’m learning we need each other, people need one another and even it is more comfortable to keep those unlike us at a distance, by allowing them close we may be pleasantly surprised by what they can bring to our lives and what they can teach us. Some prejudice though, is just too deeply rooted.

    I hope your day (month even) gets better… God bless

    Like

  2. Thank you for your insights here. I’ve certainly seen them ‘in action’, but hope not practiced them myself for any length of time (at least not knowingly). God has very effective ways of ‘prying us out of our hiding places’ if we’re really serious about following Him and loving people as He does.

    Rain’s comment stirred a question in me though:

    “I’m learning we need each other, people need one another and even (tho’) it is more comfortable to keep those unlike us at a distance, by allowing them close we may be pleasantly surprised by what they can bring to our lives and what they can teach us.”

    I agree with that wholeheartedly, but what do you do when a person who considers you so ‘unlike them’ chooses to ‘discard’ you from the role you hope to play in both teaching and learning from them? Do you honor the ‘distance’ created by that, or ‘push through’ anyway in hopes of re-establishing something more?

    D-

    Like

  3. I’m different.

    I’m okay with you being different.

    I like different.

    Laz…for me…where I’m not wanted, I choose not push through…acceptance of differences is not always possible…it does take the willingness of the other.

    Like

  4. You are right that we humans are very good at collecting into groups of common interest, and seeing anyone outside our group as inferior. Different is a word which most often has a negative connotation in society.

    We have a natural, instinctive, desire to be accepted, to be part of a family, we want to belong.

    When we see someone who looks, or acts, different than ourselves, our start to put up our defenses. This is also natural, instinctive, behaviour.

    You write of the “dark recesses of our inner being”. Part of becoming a civilized human being is learning how to overcome our instincts, at least those that make it more difficult for us to live, and work, together in society.

    There is a theory that there is limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationship, Dunbar’s number. Of course I had to look it up in my source of all information Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

    “In a 1992 article, Dunbar used the correlation observed for non-human primates to predict a social group size for humans. Using a regression equation on data for 38 primate genera, Dunbar predicted a human “mean group size” of 148 (casually rounded to 150), a result he considered exploratory due to the large error measure (a 95% confidence interval of 100 to 230).”

    If you believe the believe the best guess of science, then we humans have been around for approximately 200,000 years. For the vast majority of that time we had a hunter gather social. It is only in the last 6,000 to 10,000 years that the invention of agriculture has resulted in our living together in much larger numbers.

    It is my guess is that we still have not adequately evolved to be able to live effectively, peacefully, together in the population numbers we see in large cities. I’ll call this Ed’s theory of social interaction. πŸ™‚ I really should start writing a book. That of course would take work, and being retired, I just stick with copying from Wikipedia. πŸ™‚

    I think we both agree the human race needs to develop a better way of living together. A scientist looks to evolution. A person of religious faith looks to God, and hopes for spiritual growth.

    Like

  5. Rain – Hi – and thank you! πŸ™‚ As to ‘why’? i do think our instinctive fear does have something to do with it – we mostly fear being alone as it can make us (feel) more vulnerable to the great big wide unknown out there. And that does not make us comfortable in the least – we all tend to prefer to feel comfortable, feel that we have better ‘protection’ by being in a larger group than as a single individual. being in a group with people who we hope generally share a ‘like mind’ as us about most, if not entirely all things, is a deeply rooted desire in our human nature. Be it our family, our friends, our local community, our nation or our race/religion the desire to be in a group is very strong in most if not all of us.

    The problem i see though is that these groups very often only give the illusion of ‘sameness’ – each of us remains very individual but we try to or tend to see more of the sameness and disregard the differences within the group – we surrender some of our unique ideas for those of consensus, while at the same time we tend to see in others the difference to the group and disregard the samenesses.

    It is this that reinforces disagreements between peoples who really are not all that much different to any single one of us but whom when seen as part of ‘THAT” group are seen as different and often less than ‘we’ are in our group.

    The comfort we get by belonging comes at the cost of separating and distancing ourselves from those in groups with whom we feel we don’t belong.

    If we could learn to have comfort and membership of a single human group who are all individually slightly different to one another, we might just then be able to live in the Love of God as He intended.

    Or so i believe. πŸ™‚

    Bless you too.

    Like

  6. Laz – i agree with Rain that most and probably all of us need others in this life, although how much we need people who belong to ‘our group’ while not needing those in groups that are not ours i have a deal of uncertainty about. I tend to think those in the other groups actually can teach us much more about ourself than those in our own group can – if we let ourselves learn it.

    As to your question, which is a very good one and one that a number of Christians in particular must face and deal with.

    Ed and i have been sort of discussing this topic, or specifically the much misinterpreted Golden Rule.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    if you are someone suffering or angry, hurt or frustrated would you want someone to come along and offer you a way out of your suffering that they have personally experienced? Many don’t as they see ‘needing’ help as a sign of their own weakness and inability to be ‘normal’ but underneath it all if someone is willing to be there when and as we feel we need them and can accept their offer we would be foolish to reject it.

    There are of course many people who because of pride and other ego factors are actually often quite stupid and insist on doing themselves harm, digging an ever deeper hole for themselves.

    But the original point of my answer was that we should always do to others as we would have them do unto us.

    The problem with that is this: say you are a christian – and you are in the company of someone of a different faith who has a problem you think Jesus can help solve because he has for you. Approaching them from firmly within the Christian camp is likely to be met with suspicion and in some cases outright rejection. But more importantly to follow the Golden Rule means we as would have them do to us we are to do to them – are we prepared to hear about their faith and maybe ‘make the switch’? no? then why should they then listen to your faith and switch to what you believe in – you are not doing to them as we would have them do to us.

    The Key here is not that we always get what we want ( as WE WOULD HAVE THEM DO to us) – but that we never do what we would not have someone unlike us to do us. This allows for far greater tolerance and accepting and teaches us a better way to behave than the one our desires would have us lead.

    I find most people i know of never actually get this right.

    So to try and give a short answer πŸ˜‰ above all respect the person – see them as being like yourself in most important respects and particularly in the fact that they are experiencing difficulties and are probably proud and or scared of their situation – as well as familiar with it to a degree and may find some kind of comfort in this meaning taking it away might also hurt the person in the short term.

    move back a little but not so far away as to be unreachable by the person should they make a move to seek your help.

    make it clear you understand some of what they are suffering or that you know of someone who does who is willing to share how they found a way past the bad feelings it causes.

    never push someone too fast but walk alongside them for as long as it takes for them to be comfortable with you so close.

    Show them that while you may be different in some ways to them ( as we all are) you also have a few things in common – hurts, fears, faith, whatever it may be.

    And lastly and always, show His Love to them as it manifests through you. And be prepared to grow in the present experience.

    Eventually good spirit will recognise good spirit and true relationship can take place – if we put the right conditions into place.

    Like

  7. Sis – i know you’re different πŸ™‚

    it’s good that you are ok with it because – as i hope i made clear – there is absolutely nothing we can ever do to change that fact – we are all different beings, pretending otherwise is to believe a lie.

    But while we are all different i don’t believe our differences are actually all that significant – most of them are misconceptions caused by the human tendency to form groups they pretend have much in common.

    At our individual level i really don’t see there is a need or a reason two people from any ‘group’ cannot live in a relationship of respect and God’s Love. Of course it might be necessary for each to separate themselves from the group’s common or ‘home’ ground to let that happen.

    i think that was one of the reasons Jesus did not set up camp in any one place – so he could reach as many as possible in a non-threatening environment ( as much as was possible in those days) πŸ˜‰

    As for accepting differences not always being possible and it taking the willingness of the other – i hold to the belief that it takes Two to tango ( meaning we need to be as willing as they) and as said previously while we stick with ‘our’ group’ it can be hard to accept those from another ‘group’ or someone who is rejecting of our group – if we were serious about connecting with such a person we may need to walk a mile in their shoes first. – or as Jesus may have alongside their shoes while remaining true to Him and ourself also – retaining our integrity but not the group’s perceived common factors that might be causing the problem between us accepting each other.

    Like

  8. Ed – i’m sure i would agree with Ed’s Theory of Social Interaction (hereafter to be known as ETSI) πŸ˜‰

    Around the time i stopped putting science as my most important personal ‘faith’ i was reading a book that greatly affected me and my understanding of modern society. Should you ever decide in your retirement to write that book explaining ETSI i would strongly recommend reading it as a source of reference.

    It was written over 30 years ago and so has some not totally up-to-the-second data but i still believe it explains what we face in modern society in a very thoughtful and insightful way.

    The Author was Alvin Toffler and the book was ‘Future Shock’.

    It recognises that change is an unavoidable part of us living in today’s modern world but warns that the rate of change is increasing beyond the point at which the human nervous system is capable of keeping up with – literally.

    The resulting ‘future shock’ in an individual – the effect of being unable to adapt to the still increasing rates of change in a society – needs to be recognised and ways found to counteract it or the destruction of our society is the inevitable result.

    This may mean a determined united effort to slow down the actual rate of changes that take place at every single aspect and level of today’s world.

    It may just be possible that i am starting to suffer a little more than usual the effects of future shock and perhaps the society i live with is doing likewise.

    I hope you are doing better than me lately? :-).

    and you are right in your last para – we do agree on that although i believe science and spirit must co-operate, one without the other is not going to be enough.

    At the moment though i suspect science may be doing more harm than good – some kind of safety valve needs to be capped onto the technologic explosion ( it is more a chain reaction explosion than revolution). πŸ™‚

    Like

  9. Love,

    Thanks to you and Michelle for your helpful comments. They were confirming to what I believe also. It is hard to know how ‘close’ a relationship must be before ‘iron is ready to be sharpened by iron’ though, since ‘sparks’ do inevitably fly ={ . One just has to pray for a pure heart and clear direction in that before proceeding I think. Even with that determination and practice though, relationships can still ‘blow apart’ at least for a season (and God has His reasons for permitting if not purposing that).

    Regarding the concept of ‘doing to others’ as it applies toward non-Christians, I have a little different perspective.
    You said,
    “But more importantly to follow the Golden Rule means as would have them do to us we are to do to them – are we prepared to hear about their faith and maybe β€˜make the switch’? no? then why should they then listen to your faith and switch to what you believe in – you are not doing to them as we would have them do to us.”

    I agree that we should listen to them with open hearts and minds, not ‘coming at them’ for the purpose of achieving some kind of ‘notch in our belts’ for numbers converted. Yet, if we truly believe that Jesus is “THE Way, THE Truth, and THE LIfe (Jn. 14:6), we must be as concerned in communicating that life-changing/saving concept as we would want someone else who truly believed that to ‘do to us’ also.

    In my limited ‘witnessing’ though, what I’ve found is that often there is more of a general acceptance of ‘whatever spirituality works for you’. So, for them to share their ‘faith’ with us, they wouldn’t have the same concern to convert us to their point of view if ours will already work as well as theirs.

    I once told my brother-in-law (in that context) years ago, “According to your understanding, I’m at no risk for rejecting the possibility that you’re right (‘any way will do’). Yet, you’re risking everything to reject that what I believe may be right (Jesus is the ONLY way).

    If I’m asleep in a burning house, unaware of the fire, what I would want ‘done to me’ is for someone more aware to come in to shake, resuscitate, eject, carry, or do whatever it takes to get me out of there, even if they initially make me ‘uncomfortable’ in doing so. True love could do no less, and obviously takes a great risk to one’s own well-being in the process.

    Thanks again for all your great challenging thoughts =)!
    D-

    Like

  10. Laz – i trust you know that we are in large agreement on the subject of our chosen belief in Jesus Christ.

    As the post said though – i am different to you, i don’t think exactly like you in every way (or actually on any topic by reason of the way my brain works and the way yours does, not meaning one is superior – just different) we have to recognise this is a fact with everyone we meet.

    We are able to agree generally on many things, and with free and open shared discussion we are likely to be able to agree on even more things.

    YouI said: ‘I agree that we should listen to them with open hearts and minds, not β€˜coming at them’ for the purpose of achieving some kind of β€˜notch in our belts’ for numbers converted. Yet, if we truly believe that Jesus is β€œTHE Way, THE Truth, and THE LIfe (Jn. 14:6), we must be as concerned in communicating that life-changing/saving concept as we would want someone else who truly believed that to β€˜do to us’ also.’

    i agree with the first part of that wholeheartedly, but the last is true in the case you have mentioned but is heading into territory where it can easily be incorrect or misconstrued. This is not , i believe, interpreting the Golden Rule as it was meant to be understood. It is what so very many people get wrong concerning it.

    The Golden Rule is not designed to have us behave in such a way as to do what WE want, but as we SHOULD. (according to the principle of God’s Love for us).

    If the person you were ministering Christ to in the case you mention was also aseeking Christ then it might be a reasonable assumption that you both would be wanting the same thing and it would be in accordance with the golden rule to do to them as you would be willing to have them do to you ( sharing the Gospel of Christ) However in all other cases ‘they’ would not be doing that to you but might instead be sharing a gospel of Atheism, Islam or Buddhism This would then require you to do as you would have THEM do to you, namely share (and believe) what THEY, and not you, believe in with you – the gospel of either Atheism, Islam or Buddhism.

    It is a matter of being able to put yourself in Their Place, not of putting your beliefs upon them because that is what you want, by reason of your own strongly held personal belief.

    In the case of the house burning almost everyone would think like you that all people would think alike and we are therefore justified in the golden rule of doing to others and pulling them out, thus saving their life because WE would want our lives to be saved, but again this is not following the golden rule correctly. It is possible, even if greatly unlikely, that the person in the house set the fire intending to take their own life and they would wish any ‘rescuer’ would just go away and leave them to do what they were trying to do.

    It might be against our own moral code to let someone else take their life, however this is a personal moral judgement and is not interpreting the golden rule in the way it is meant. Very few of us ever want someone else to impose their personal beliefs upon us preferring instead for them to treat us with respect and value our beliefs. THIS is what we are to do to them – what we would have them do to us: respect us, listen to us and if possible do/be as us.

    The Golden rule then says we are to do the same – respect THEM, listen to them, and if possible be as THEM, not self.

    If we find that we cling to ourself – what we believe in, while being in a state of error, more than we cling to another understanding of truth, it is very likely that we are not showing the true love of God in us.

    It is not an easy or comfortable concept to hear at first, but i believe it does hold true. And true also to God’s Will for us.

    It is most definitely not what ‘common’ human understanding thinks. But we are not to live according to what most humans think, but what God Wills.

    Like

  11. one word…

    pride.

    its an ugly truth about all of us. something that i believe grows from insecurity. id be a liar if i said i did not struggle with this. though i am aware of it and the need for it to be addressed and won over by His love each and every day.

    great post!!

    Like

  12. Love,
    Thanks for the clarification/explanation in your last comment, and for all the time and thought you put into your responses as well as your posts.

    I understand what you’re saying with the emphasis on consideration of and respect for the other person’s perspective. I totally agree, but would also again stress that if I feel genuine concern for someone (the whole point of the Golden Rule I believe) I would continue seeking some way to communicate the truth that I firmly hold. If I believe it and love them, I MUST be consistent to keep trying (not in a pestering way, but rather ‘making the most of every opportunity’ as it presents itself – Eph 5:16).

    Jude sums it up well here,
    “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” vs 22-23 NIV

    He describes the discernment needed to ‘meet people where they are’, taking the time to understand and generally just loving them, however long it takes to establish a ‘lifeline’ for communicating truth. Granted, some will refuse or delay past my ever being aware of any change, but as long as I have life, and love for them, I won’t stop warning them of the dangers they face (even at risk to myself) or planting/watering/cultivating seeds of faith sown for future harvest.

    Maybe I’m just saying the same thing all over again, and you still disagree (or agree? =), but I guess we’re just ‘different’ in our perspectives, yet can continue to understand and love one another anyway I trust =)!

    D-

    Like

  13. “we do agree on that although i believe science and spirit must co-operate, one without the other is not going to be enough.

    At the moment though i suspect science may be doing more harm than good – some kind of safety valve needs to be capped onto the technologic explosion ( it is more a chain reaction explosion than revolution). ”

    You make to very good points above that I agree with. Technology by its self does nothing It has an equal potential to be used for good or evil.

    We must come to believe that cooperating with our neighbors is the best way make both our own world better, as well as the future world our children will grow up in. We must come to think of human race as one family.

    I agree that religous faith can motivate us to try and live in the world better. In this regard I think it has the same potential as technology. It comes down to how we use religion and technology. It is possible to use both. My faith is with scientifc thinking, not religion.

    I believe, or perhaps want to believe, the sucessful story of man that science tells. This gives me more confidence in the theory of evolution that comes from science, then in the story of man told by the Bible.

    I have more confidence that using a thought process similar to the scientific process will do this better than the kind of thinking that created religious faith. However both can give us the faith in the future we need.

    Like

  14. D – trust that we do actually agree far more than we disagree πŸ™‚

    My only point i wanted to make here is that we are not tuo use the Golden Rule as a way to obtain our own human desires, but rather as the way to correctly determine God’s.

    i feel most strongly that most humans, when using what they believe to be ‘good’ logic fail in this and just do what they think is right for them – not for anyone else – or that everyone else should think like me (that my opinion is superior to whatever belief you have sort of thing – i do not consider that form of thought as ‘Godly’))

    i feel that we are to be honest to our own beliefs and to God’s Will and do what our scripture instructs us to, yet at the same time i think we are required to use logical thought and not fall foul of deceitful thoughts and selfish desires.

    I think the Golden Rule was designed to help us overcome these. Like most things we humans do – we can use a good thing in a bad way at times. πŸ™‚

    Like

  15. Ed – i’m happy that we are finding a lot of agreement – if perhaps on a ‘wider’ scale than a distinct and definite one of our individual beliefs πŸ™‚

    I am sure this is testament ( excuse the religious language) πŸ˜‰ to the fact that we are able to discuss all things in a respectful and open fashion. ( and maybe because we come from largely the same kind of background / community)

    ‘I have more confidence that using a thought process similar to the scientific process will do this better than the kind of thinking that created religious faith. However both can give us the faith in the future we need.’

    i feel you may be being just a tad ‘biased’ against those who ‘found’ a religion ( that lasts for more than a generation or two i mean).

    Two things: the kind of people who created the ‘Scientific process’ were largely very religious people.

    The Ancient Greeks to whom we owe perhaps the most for our modern form of democratic government and the free thinking that first formed much of our science today (mathematics, and ‘atomic’ theory as well as human biology etc) were such strong believers in religion, it was such a part of their everyday life that they actually had no distinct word for ‘a’ or their religion! The Gods and man were thought to have frequent and common interaction.

    Some of the greatest thinkers of the time lived this way.

    Many of the 16th – 19 century thinkers who made such massive achievement in science were also devout believers in God and Christianity. The Church was the main source of teaching and instruction among the population.

    Secondly, do you think ‘normal’ people created ‘religious’ thinking? Do you believe the same kind of ‘nromal’ people created scientific thinking?

    or was it in both cases the brightest and most creative, the most disciplined minds that came up with the basics of both Religious tenets and sacripture as well as SAcientific thinking and literature?

    it is my belief that both were brought into being by only the very finest minds mankind had to offer.

    Science may have done some fine things to ‘advance’ today’s society, but it could not have been possible without the good things and benefits a belief in God and a superior way of behaving than the one of our ancestors (apes) could ever have provided us.

    i believe it would be a very unthinking mistake to leave behind the understanding of God and Spirit while proceding with only what logical and scientific thinking can currently provide us with.

    Each still has much of value to the best way we might live together in a society.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s