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  • Writer's pictureRyan Jones

To love one another is to purposely seek out similarities

For those familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, bear with me a moment while I explain callings, as it will help more people understand my blog post. The church is 100% volunteer-run in how it is organized and run. By accepting Jesus Christ as your savior and committing to him, you volunteer to be called to serve. That call could be to teach children, adults, or in a leadership role, among other things, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. One such calling I had put me in charge of overseeing all the children’s baptisms. These are children who have reached the age of accountability and choose to be officially baptized as Jesus was baptized. One thing we do to get to know these children is shine spotlights on them. Imagine sitting down and being grilled with questions such as your favorite food, sport, book, teacher, subject in school, number of siblings, what you want to be when you grow up, favorite scripture story, favorite music, etc., then having this information shared in a spotlight. It is a very vulnerable situation, but the audience and even the children find joy as people smile, laugh, and connect with them.

Let me explain this connection. In this safe environment, people listen to these spotlights with an open ear for similarities—maybe a food you too like or a sport, hobby, etc. As you seek those similarities, you will find them and be able to connect with these children. Consider the opposite. If you specifically look for differences, you might find reasons not to want to connect with them. For example, if you don’t like golf and one of the children loves to play golf, you might say, "They like golf; why would anyone play that dumb sport?" My point, clearly stated, is that you will find what you are looking for in these spotlights—a reason to connect or a reason to distance yourself.

When we notice a difference or hear something we disagree with, as adults, we frequently tune out, check out, or dismiss what is being shared. Maybe a few of you have already made that same judgment about me while reading my blog today. I believe that if you go through life seeking the similarities between people, 1) you will find more people you can relate to, and 2) you will be able to connect at a deeper level.

I challenge you to look for the similarities in people rather than the differences. I believe that to love one another, we must purposely seek out our similarities.

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