In my first year of homeschooling, we bought this gigantic dictionary called Noah Webster 1828. You may have heard of it.
The Noah Webster dictionary was created by a Christian lexicographer who had a heart for allowing others to be able to read and discern scripture for themselves. He began working on the list of English words that took more than 22 years to complete. Because of him, the English/American language has meaning for each word. The dictionary got published in 1828.
When this big green dictionary came to rest on our bookshelf inside the "classroom," if you were to even call it that, I grew to appreciate words and definitions. Flipping through so many pages and learning the definitions stirred my heart. One of my favorite words that were found inside this great dictionary was the word: Individuality.
INDIVIDUAL'ITY, (in·di·vid·u·al·i·ty), noun: Separate or distinct existence; a state of oneness.
Uniqueness, originality, peculiarity, distinctiveness, character, identity, self.
I heard a sermon not too long ago, talking about individuality in the church. How everyone is uniquely different, yet we can love one another despite our differences.
Can you imagine if God decided to love only a certain type of person? What if He put a limit to His love?
The news that keeps screaming at us to look and take notice of the world that is changing shows us hate and the exact opposite of unity. It's easy to point fingers and hate those who are not like you. Why? Look at the root, my friend, and see that we were born to hate others who are not like us. It's harder to love those who are different.
'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' Galatians 3:28
'Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.' Philippians 2:3
'-bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.' Colossians 3:13-14
'Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!' Psalm 133:1
'Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.' 1 Peter 3:8
There are so many more verses talking about unity and loving one another despite your differences.
Think about how many groups in history who twisted scripture into saying what they deem is right or pure. Or only a certain type of people will get into heaven. The tower of Babel, Babylon, The Holocaust, countless wars over religion, and cults that try to use morality to justify murder. Everything that is not centered on Christ is chaos.
Christianity - true Gospel-based faith is the only religion that accepts you as you are and calls us to love others despite our differences.
For some reason, people have this misconceived reality of what true Christianity is. People who have been hurt by so-called Christians believe that the whole cup is tainted. But what we have forgotten is that none of us are good. Not even one.
'The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.' Psalm 14:1,3
'And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.' Luke 18:19
Our imperfect flesh cannot do good. Only when we allow Christ to live through us can we be called righteous.
The beauty of the gospel isn't that perfect people get called to be more perfect. It is that imperfect people get to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus and live out the light of the gospel and through our mistakes and failures, God's love abounds even more.
We have been created to be different. Who wants to be the same anyway? Reading the word, individuality, and trying to say it as an 8-year old made me feel special. That it was okay to be different.
Growing up and being in the public school before we started homeschooling taught me early on that if you stood out in the crowd - you wouldn't have friends. You would most likely get made fun of because you were not like every other student in the cafeteria. The popular kids, yes, even in elementary school were all the same. They walked the same, dressed the same, looking at them made you feel like you needed to change so you could be like them.
Thankfully, God doesn't call us to be like everyone else. You were designed to stand out. The more diverse and unique you are points out how intricate and beautiful God is.
My friend, be different. Stand up for what you believe in and don't follow the crowd. Live out being individualistic. Because it's beautiful.