Toby Mac says, “Tonight's the night, for the sinner and the saint. Two worlds collide…”
We collude as sinners and we do so as saints, but mixed? We're called to share the good news of Jesus while also called to be like Him. To that end, we are called to be salt and light, but too often we live as seasoning amongst like minded people. Why? I hope to answer that.
Do you like BBQ? I do and I love seasoning every thing I cook. I especially like this one particular kind of spice mix because it is so varied and diverse, while being very effective in regards to flavor. I've tried other mixes but I've grown accustomed to this one. Similarly, a lot of my friends are partial to spices they have found or concocted. This always reminds me of the uniqueness of humans and how truly diverse we all are.
We all have seasonings and spices we use and like, regardless of the foods we add them to. The diversity of flavors is not unlike the diversity in each of us. Obviously there are significant differences from person to person and we also have been told that opposites attract, but commonly we choose friends based on like characteristics, not opposing ones. We also choose friends based on attraction of certain characteristics, such as humor or physical beauty or athleticism.
Your friends are very much an attribute of your own styles, likes and dislikes, desires, moods and even your steak seasoning! Sounds crazy right? But we commonly surround ourselves with individuals who think, act and even eat like us because it fits what we want. When confronted with someone that does not think or act like we do, we commonly avoid that person due to our comfort zone. If the difference is glaring we not only avoid but permanently shun, without considering any possible ground. We might even speak ill so as to place a verbal wall between us and them.
The danger of trying a new seasoning is apparent. We take a huge risk that the food being prepared will taste horrible and then what? The meal is wasted. Who wants that? The same is true with regards to reaching out to those people around us that have obvious differences in view or lifestyle from our own. We even avoid getting to know certain people better for fear of discovering some glaring characteristic that would cause us to be uncomfortable.
The real fear is rejection, just as we would reject food that did not taste good we also reject people for not being appealing to us. In the same way, we are also rejected because we do not measure up to certain expectations that are set by others. Does it bother you to know that almost daily you are being rejected by someone because of who you are? Do you ever wonder why? Was it something you said or did?
Knowing that you are going to be rejected makes it all the easier to reject others, often for the exact same reasons. This repetitive nature of rejection is as old as mankind and will exist forever unless we make a conscious effort to change it. Seeing beyond our differences to find commonalities is essential, but it will only happen when we recognize that our way of “seasoning” things is what works for us and does not work for everyone.
Trying something new will always be risky but the rewards far outweigh those risks. The opportunity to connect with another soul is what makes us pine for connectivity. Even the most introverted person desires for a connection with another, it is our nature to be in concert with each other.
I have discovered that while things like oil and water do not mix, both of them get used in a motor. One cools and the other lubricates. They may not mix and yet they are in concert with one another in order to make the motor run properly.
Does this mean we should mix garlic and sugar? Maybe we should just consider the possibility. Or maybe we should look for ways to work together instead of rejecting each other instantly because of our differences.