I dabble in the kitchen. Maybe you’re a dabbler too. I can throw down on occasion, but it’s a rare occasion at that. Most of the time, I’m just fortunate to dip my pinky toe in a meal, much less put my whole foot in it.
That’s why I’m always amazed when whatever I cook turns out incredible. I can hardly believe I’m the one who cooked it. The greatest feeling is when your dabbling creates something delicious.
But dabbling or not, preparing a good meal takes work. And that work starts with understanding the elements that make up a dish – the ingredients.
The best chefs know that each ingredient serves its own purpose and must be appreciated for the flavor, texture, aroma, even color it brings to the dish. Only when an ingredient’s uniqueness is understood and valued can it be best combined with others to create a tasty dish. In fact, some ingredients taste better in combination with something else rather than on their own. You wouldn’t just grab an onion for an afternoon snack, but dice it up, sauté it a little with bell pepper and celery, and you have the start of a good meal.
I recently came across an Instagram post from artist Morgan Harper Nichols comparing unity to working in the kitchen, and her analogy couldn’t be truer. That’s because unity isn’t about setting aside differences or even tolerating them. It’s valuing our differences and realizing their importance in how we live and work together.
As we work together to achieve unity, there are three ingredients you and I can incorporate today that will lead to a more unified tomorrow:
CHOOSE TO LISTEN
Let’s diligently seek the perspective of others and embrace their stories. We can celebrate life’s wins and mourn for the losses. We can weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). The Bible shows us that sin has long caused division in this world, yet we as believers are charged with living at peace with everyone (Hebrews 12:14). To truly obtain unity, we can’t overlook injustice but eradicate its roots. That’s when we’ll experience lasting peace with others. In a world that’s racially divided, let’s pray for open hearts and minds to hear each other.
CHOOSE TO LEARN
Instead of shying away from our differences, let’s educate ourselves on them. Let’s learn from our nation’s tainted history and not be afraid to ask the tough questions about racial injustice, always seeking gospel answers. It’s our God-designed uniqueness – gifts and talents along with our diverse backgrounds and upbringings – that help shape our contributions to society and our service in the kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Praying for unity is much needed, but let’s also ask God to show us how to create it. Then as we learn, we must teach our children so they can teach theirs and so on.
CHOOSE TO LOVE
Jesus loved freely. He saw each person as an image-bearer of God, created equally in His eyes. In fact, He intentionally interacted with people that were not like Him so that their sense of belonging would lead to their belief. Isn’t it interesting how we often do the opposite? We tend to evaluate a person’s background and beliefs before we decide if they belong. What if instead, we chose to love like Jesus – treating others with the same kindness, concern and care that we seek for ourselves? That’s how we truly love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39-40). That’s how we truly represent Jesus and draw others to Him. Only God can change hearts and changed hearts lead to changed habits – that’s the real hope for a unified tomorrow.
Just like preparing an incredible meal, unity takes work, hard work. It takes grace and intentionality, choosing to listen, learn and love. At times it may seem impossible, but together with Jesus, it is achievable.
In the kitchen, there are no “two sides of the aisle.” There is a pot in front of us, and it’s time to cook. Some of what we will try will work. Some of what we will try will not. But the water is already boiling on the stove, and we need to eat. Let’s get to work. – Morgan Harper Nichols
by Chrystal Buckner