We weren’t created to work or do life alone. When we try, it can lead to a sense of isolation that results in increased stress, burnout, insecurity, and even depression. We were created to thrive and flourish in all aspects of our lives in community. And the richest, most fulfilling type of community is diverse―in ethnicity, skills, experience, personality type, age, background and so on. There is so much we can gain from diverse community.
God has been speaking to me through Ephesians 4:15-16, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (NLT).
We were created to do all of life together, each person with her own contribution to make, as the body of Christ with Christ as the head, leading and guiding us and shining His light through us to encourage others. When Jesus commanded the disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), he made it clear that people from all nations are meant to participate in the body of Christ together. This is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, “you shall be the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:4). Diverse community in the workplace and all areas of life provides a foretaste of heaven on earth.
The enemy will do everything is his power to interfere with God’s best plan for us. One way he does it is by causing division. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of opportunities for division these days. When we judge others who are different or think differently and even view those differences as threats, the enemy is smiling. When we allow differences in belief to divide us, we cut ourselves off from the very unity for which Jesus made a way through His birth, His example, His death, and resurrection.
Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:21). Following and loving Jesus requires that we strive to be more like Christ and contribute toward the unity He prayed we would experience. Scripture tells us, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). These are not warm and fuzzy words. Jesus actually commanded it.
How do we love others who are different from us at work? It starts with the intention to choose to see others as God sees them, embracing the differences, and making it a priority to seek to understand others, which doesn’t mean you have to agree. Loving our coworkers can be as simple as giving them the benefit of the doubt, taking time to listen and get to know them, being willing to offer a helping hand, bringing someone a cup of coffee, or better yet, inviting her to coffee. When you invest time in other people, especially those who are different from you, it's a powerful step towards unity and expanding your understanding of the world in which we live and work.
The WiM leadership team decided that in 2023 we will continue with the one word TOGETHER. Working together with a commitment to love one another is critical to align with what God wants to do through all of us. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17)—growth, impact and expansion happens when we are part of a diverse and inclusive community committed to one another in love, growing in our faith and obedience to God. We saw amazing fruit in 2022 as a result of Christ-centered, open-handed collaboration and we’re excited to see where God takes us this year.
What can you do today, this week, this month to love your coworkers, foster greater unity with those who are different from you, and be more like Christ? When you take intentional steps to walk in love with others, including those who are different from you, I guarantee you’ll work better together and experience greater enrichment and empowerment.