The Sharp Edges of our Differences

Genesis 2: 21, 22 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

The first surgery… and first anesthesia… but not the first cloning.  Eve was not a duplicate of Adam.  Instead of being identical, they were complimentary—quite literally in the physical sense—but also in their internal makeup.  Gender neuroscience has discovered fundamental differences in male and female brains, on a spectrum, though the extent and impact must still be sorted out.

And gender is only one part of our many individual differences, our unique set of bumps and hollows that interlock making a whole when we are in community.   God was not simply creating a couple, but a seed bed to “fill the earth.”  He was making community.  Our unique makeup as individuals does not make one superior to another, but makes us interdependent as our various strengths support one another’s weaknesses.  The smart is not better than the kind or the energetic than the patient, but each contributes his or her strengths to the whole.

Our many differences were never intended to create competition or leverage power or determine value.  As a society we prioritize certain attributes and abilities above others and construct reward systems to reflect that valuation, but the health or goodness of a society is not determined by its efficiency, power, productivity or even creativity.  The good society embraces and equally values all its members.  Mutual love and respect are the building blocks of relational health.  When we welcome our differences they become not a source of disunity, but of deeper and more meaningful connection.

Lord, I often get irritated and frustrated by the way others choose to do things.  Teach me to find the blessing their differences bring us.  When I disagree with others, I assume their view is wrong or misguided or deficient instead of trying to understand why we see things differently.  Teach me this hard but crucial lesson in relation building.

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