Can I ask you a question? Do you value people any less because they are different? Two recent BBC television programmes entitled: “No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?” covered the attempt by Dr Javid Abelmoneim to strip away the differences between the boys and girls in a Year 3 class at a primary school on the Isle of Wight. He was trying to show that society would value children equally if a child’s gender was ignored and boys and girls were treated as if there was no difference between them. This included making them play with the same toys and use the same school toilets (restrooms). His experiments in changing the thinking of a whole class of eight to nine year olds had some interesting results; many of these were positive, including increased confidence in the girls and improved behaviour and empathy in the boys, although using the same toilets was not popular!
But is it right to force everyone to be the same? Shouldn’t we find a way to value all people equally and still celebrate our differences? For example, whether you are a fisherman from Ghana, a midwife from Russia or a child from Brazil, you are precious and of equal value, and should be treated equally without being made to conform to an acceptable compromise. What a humdrum world it would be if we were all the same! As the scriptures wisely point out:
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
1 Corinthians 12:17-18 (NIVUK)
In fact we are all unique, and that’s not just because of our fingerprints. We were made to be different; each having different talents and characteristics that can make the world a better place. Maybe you were born to encourage others or to prepare great food; perhaps your skill is to help people build secure finances, clear drains, raise children or nurse patients back to health? We may not change the world, but we can make the world a better place for those around us.
Each one of us is special, and even with all our differences, we are deeply and equally loved by our Creator. As one of Jesus’s followers once wrote,
“We love each other because He loved us first.”
1 John 4:19 (NLT)