I want to follow up on my "Equally yoked" post a few days back. I hadn't been satisfied with it when I published it, and I'm still not. It sounds more harsh than I feel and I spent hardly any time talking about the actual point I've been pondering. So here's my take-two, my little p.s.
Forget, for now, church culture and the term "equally yoked," and let's think more broadly. In human culture, we tend to gravitate toward sameness. Many people branch beyond sameness in an intentional effort to diversify, but I think it's still where most of us are comfortable. People who look like us, talk like us, think like us, believe like us, worship (or not) like us, share the same culture as us, the same nationality as us, enjoy the same things as us. This is what we are most often comfortable with, these commonalities, and let's face it, it does take less work to relate.
What I've been disputing in myself lately is this idea that pursuing such sameness in a potential marriage partner is what is "best" or even what I want. Our culture says so. Even the church culture at times says so. But what about God's culture, I wonder?
God is entirely unlike us. In fact the word "holy" literally means, "other than." God is holy, a Being other than us. And yet He loves us. And yet He's drawn to have relationship with us. Not because we're so like Him, but because in His otherness, He has an unconfined, inexhaustible love for us that we cannot understand. His only goal of sameness is this: that, over a lifetime, each person in His family would become more and more like His Son, Jesus. That we would behave like Jesus and talk like Jesus and think like Jesus and feel like Jesus.
So we see that in God's culture, He is not drawn toward us because of a sameness, but accepts us in our enormous differences from Him and walks with us over a lifetime to show us how to become more like a member of His family. This is very different, very other than, any culture we know.
And this is what has me thinking lately, wondering if there's another way to look at what's "best" in a life partner. To challenge the narrowness of my own thinking, that the more we have in common, the better off we'll be. For some, that's what they want and what they need, and so I don't dispute that with them. But for me, perhaps the way to expand myself to love more like God does is to choose to love someone who looks so very different from me, with the commonality that we both love God. In these initial differences, if we have humble and open hearts, we can actually learn more from each other, and the friction at times can challenge us to grow deeper in character and bigger of heart. Differences can confront my thinking and assumptions, that "my way is the right way," giving me plenty of opportunities for my heart and perspectives to be enlarged. And I wonder if, in two such different people coming together to love each other, it's possible that God's goal of shaping us more into the likeness of Jesus stretches us to a greater depth and dimension.
Just a thought.