Disgust is an interesting emotion.

we-are-who-god-made-us-christopher-kirwan-tuskawilla-presbyterianIt’s not one that gets a lot of discussion, nor is it seen as either mainly positive or negative.

To be sure, there are some rather disgusting things in this world. But the primary aspect to keep in mind when it comes to disgust is that it’s a perspective and outlook one has on life. It’s how we view things, how we perceive and feel about situations or people.

There are a lot of factors that can impact our outlook. It might help if we could better understand the concept of disgust and then alter the negative parts of it.

We all know someone who may seem, look or feel different. Most of us at one time or another have felt that we, too, are unique or have something about ourselves that others might question or wonder. We are not accepted, not welcomed, or we feel people look at us with some sort of disgust that makes us feel ostracized.

We should embrace that which sets us apart. It’s due to our differences and amidst diversity that we find beauty.

Instead of being viewed negatively as the weird kid who wears long striped socks and short shorts, or the person that has to take an inhaler in order to combat their asthma, or the strange person that is battling depression, anxiety, cancer, diabetes, or some sort of spiritual demon, we all should be applauded. We should be thanked and encouraged for having these differences.

We should approach each person, each situation and each circumstance with an air of empathy, love and curiosity. Instead of looking at someone with a questioning eye and hint of disgust; we should approach them with a heavy dose of praise and gratefulness that they are different and unique and so are we.

We are who God made us to be. We should be grateful that we are who we are and know that we are loved.

One thing I love about children is that they bravely ask questions others don’t. Yes, as parents, sometimes we get a little embarrassed about the types of questions they ask and to whom they ask them.

But think about it from their perspective: they are merely curious about something or someone they do not recognize or have not seen before. It’s not that they think it’s weird or strange, or that they view it as disgusting. Rather, they are genuinely interested in why that person looks different and acts differently. They truly want to know more about them.

Children are excited to learn about diversity. Their curiosity is not coming from a place of condemnation, judgment or disgust, as is often the case with adults. With children, it’s coming from a caring, curious and loving side of them, and for that they should be applauded and embraced, not chided and scolded.

Be together, not the same

That motto could (and maybe should) be the chief vision of a church. As a church family, we are encouraged and instructed to “be together.” Within that togetherness we can find unity, centered around and through God. At the same time, we are not exactly the same as the person next to us.

We find our true strength and effectiveness when we come together through the fundamental fact that we are not the same.

We are all members of the body of Christ; we all have diverse purposes, gifts, talents, and abilities. Through those differentiations we are capable of so much more. We add to and enhance the splendor of the world.

Within those differences we should not find disgust, but instead should find beauty.

Part 4 of a 5-Part Series.