The Beauty of Inequality.
We are not all created equal.
As Christians, we must accept this truth. If we don’t, then we will constantly be living in a state of comparison and disappointment. We are not equal, nor were we made to be such. I have never met a man who is able to carry the very breath of a human being inside his womb, nor have I met a woman who has the ability to give life with the sperm of her being. Without our differences, the very essence of human life would be nonexistent.
Inequality is beautiful.
Last week, my family and I watched as the North Carolina house I grew up in was packed into boxes and delivered 16 hours to our new house in Wisconsin. As one-by-one the boxes filled the new, unfamiliar rooms, we worked to make our new house into a home. Full of anticipation, I immediately set to work decorating and organizing my new room, my head spinning with images of what it would look like once it was finished. A couple of unpacked boxes later, I noticed the pain in my body worsening, rendering my left arm completely useless. I couldn’t move the boxes. I couldn’t lift the picture frames. I was too weak. Too tired. Too ill.
One room away, my sister was completely done unloading her boxes and ready to begin helping organize the kitchen. Emilee is strong. She is full of energy. She is completely healthy.
We are not equal.
In a world that revolves around fairness, where is the fairness in a disease that slows me down? Where is the fairness in one sister who is strong and able while the other sister is weak and unable? Where is the beauty in this inequality? I could spend hours going on and on about the inequality, the unfairness, in the lot that God has given me versus what He has given my sister. But then, what would I have left but a heart full of disappointment as I spend my days playing the comparison game? I have another choice, though. I can choose to rejoice.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, . . . in needs, . . . in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
In God’s great grace, He deemed it good to create a variety of souls in a variety of colors. What one person can do well, another cannot, and vice versa. When Paul declares that his strength comes from his weakness, I believe that it is not only God’s strength that empowers Paul to continue on in spite of infirmities, needs, and distresses. I believe it is also the strengths of the body of Christ that empowers Paul. Where Paul is weak, others in the body are strong.
“If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (1 Corinthians 12:15-22).
In the same way, Emilee and I complement each other. Where I am weak, she is strong. Where I am unable, she is able. Without her, I would simply be a hand, but where could I go without my foot? Without me, Emilee would simply be a foot, but what would she do without her hand?
In this moment, there are 7,517,668,970 people in this world. That’s seven billion souls. All different. All unique. Seven billion inequalities.
We live in a country that calls for equality. And while I understand, and appreciate, the reasoning and the motive, I think we are calling for the wrong thing. You see, by striving for equality, we are asking all of the seven billion people in this world to conform. We are asking them to hide their individual qualities so as not to offend anyone. We are seeking everyone to paint themselves the same color.
But where is the beauty in that? We cannot all be the color blue in the same way that the body cannot all be made of feet.
Instead of striving to paint the world an equal color, why can’t the world just acknowledge that there is a whole rainbow of colors...seven billion different colors, shades, and hues. By acknowledging and learning to appreciate the inequalities of each individual, we will not only become aware of our weaknesses, but we will find each others’s strengths.
My sister is an extrovert. At any given time, her words are flowing out of her mouth in a steady stream of facts, humor, and stories. She is the life of our family. This is a strength that she has. But by acknowledging her strength of being able to talk to a wall, my inability to tell a humorous story well is exposed as weakness. However, here’s the beauty of the thing:: By my family, friends, and acquaintances acknowledging that I’m naturally shy – my weakness – my strength in listening well is brought to light. As a result, whenever someone I know has a problem, a struggle, or just needs someone to talk to, I’m typically one of the first people they come to because they know that I will listen without judgement, without interruption, and that I will listen well.
What would happen if this was the question we, as a society, began to ask? What would happen if we, as a society, began to seek out one anothers’ weaknesses and strengths rather than striving to paint over them the same shade of blue?
There is beauty in inequality. God created us all with a unique purpose in mind. He created us with different talents, different abilities, different gifts, different dreams and goals, different hopes and futures, different lives, and different souls. We were not made to be equal, and because of that, no matter how hard we try to create equality, we will never achieve it. Instead, we will be stuck in a game of comparison. We will be left disappointed.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
There is another choice, though. We can choose to compare our hand with another’s foot and try to do with our hand as one does with his foot, leaving us feeling utterly useless. Or we can acknowledge and appreciate the work that one is doing with his foot and rejoice for the abilities our hand has been given.
The day I couldn’t move the heavy boxes, I could have chosen to sit in my room and complain to God about the lot of illness He had given me, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t do that a little. But here is how gentle my God is… While I was comparing myself to my sister, lifting my complaints up to God, in His great grace and mercy, Jesus lifted my head and showed me the beauty of my inequality. I couldn’t move the boxes, but Emilee could do it for me. Later that same day, Emilee couldn’t reach the top shelf in the kitchen to store some glasses away, for she was too short, but I could do it for her. She had the strength; I had the height. We complement each other.
“But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26).
We are not all created equal. And it is time we realize that inequality is necessary. Inequality is okay. In fact, it is beautiful.