Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3.8,9
In love we are called to unity, to togetherness. But we are not called to homogeneity, or to all have the same opinion, or never to differ, in fact the Scriptures recognize the inevitablity of conflict and the need to be people of forgiveness, even in close-knit communities. Even in the verses before this extract above there are viewpoints which many of us would disagree with (for whole passage click here - opens a new window).
We are not called to be of one single viewpoint, we are called to "unity of spirit, and love for one another" (the Greek word there is brotherly/sibling-like love. In a family we wouldn't expect all members to think or act or be the same way, nor should we in the spiritual family that is the church, or the family of humanity.
But recognizing the value of diversity, without letting it become division, starts with loving people for what they are, not what we want them to be, or what we expect them to be. Letting go of our 'demands' is an act of love, allowing others to be who they are, and allows us to truly encounter, learn from, learn with, one another.
you created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety
of races and cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence
in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect
in our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.