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The Person I Am


cffblog6.jpgNovember 17, 2017 Friday)

We are complex beings. From the moment of our conception, we are individuals. Believe it or not, my belief in that principle was reinforced by observing two female Siamese cats born at our house. They were part of the same litter and looked almost exactly alike, but each had her own personality. I observed them from their birth all their lives, and, although they were identical in appearance, they were nothing alike. (View image1 View image2 View image3). Their differences were a direct result of what they became at the moment of their conception. The same is true of people, but the development of human beings is more complicated because of our cognitive abilities. We gradually develop into unique individuals, but are always tied to the basic personality with which we were born.

After we are born, we begin to interact with everything and everyone with whom we come in contact. The person we become in life is largely formed by the time we are about three years old, perhaps even earlier. All through life's journey, we keep making choices, so picture in your mind a tree: roots, trunk, branches, branches of branches, etc. You and your friend, or even a brother or sister, may start out in agreement but as your lives progress, your unique choices can put the two of you on opposite sides of the tree, hanging onto different branches. Even identical twins, although always much alike, make choices along the way that identify each as an individual.

I've said all that to say the human situation guarantees diversity and disagreement. National television broadcasted the question a few years back, "Can't we all just get along?" The proper response to that question is so complex that it's impossible to state in a short essay.

When several hundred people gather into one place for worship, singing the same songs and hearing the same sermon, they are not all experiencing the same thing. Whatever is intended for the worshiper is understood and applied by him/her in an individual way. The same sentence in a sermon can have totally different meanings to two people sitting side by side.

The plain truth is that we are never going to see things alike. So we argue. Sometimes we actually fight. Our beliefs run deep.

Jesus gave us a principle to live by that can help us if we let it. This same principle is part of the basic teachings of most religions today. It is one of the best known adages, and is quoted daily by thousands of people, yet many people consider it impractical and choose to discard it most of the time: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule.

We are different from each other, in what we believe and in what we practice. We are not clones or robots. We should honor the method of creating personalities established by the Lord. We need to respect one another. If we follow this one great teaching of Jesus, we can all get along.


Adapted from blog published on November 17, 2007

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