Why is it awkward being around individuals who are different from us?
In this video, counselor David Powlison first addresses how to relate to people with autism, then zooms out beyond this question, addressing our struggle to relate to anyone who is markedly different than our pool of acquaintances. Think different race, different language, or physical handicap. Are there a few reasons for this awkwardness, or one main reason? And how should Christians overcome it?
I am greatly helped by seeing such people, if Christians, as “fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). As such, I need them and they need me. If they are not Christians, I am helped by seeing them as potential fellow heirs. As such, I need to imitate Christ and they need to know the good news.
I was most surprised, however, by Powlison’s inclusion of extraordinary beauty in his list of what makes someone different. The inclusion makes sense, though. I had a friend in college who was bewitchingly gorgeous. Sadly, much of my friendship toward her was subconsciously animated by her outward appearance and the favor it got her from the world. I am disappointed not so much in my own shallowness as the opportunity I missed to be a true friend to her. I should have been “rooted and grounded in love” in Ephesians 3 fashion.
More thoughts, anyone, on what a biblical view of this topic would be?